New Model News

Three new plug-in hybrid electric Jeeps coming with "4xe" badging

Jeep has announced that the Renegade, Compass, and Wrangler will all be getting PHEV variants in the coming year.

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

It's no secret that Jeep's parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is behind the curve when it comes to electrification of its fleet. That's something the all be helped thanks to the company's forthcoming merger with PSA Group. At CES this week, Jeep took a big step forward showing off three plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) SUVs.

The Jeep Wrangler, Compass, and Renegade PHEVs coming down the line will all carry the new "Jeep 4xe badge". This will be the badging on all forthcoming electrified Jeep vehicles.

Jeep 4xe bagdge PHEV variants of Jeep vehicles will have unique badging.Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

PHEVs benefit from the best of both types of fuel supply. They have a battery pack that holds a charge that usually holds around 30 miles of all-electric range. The battery pack is powered via a cord and plug outlet that can be attached to either a charging station or a household electrical outlet. Power regeneration usually comes from braking and coasting, which allows the battery to recharge without being plugged in.

The vehicles also have a hybrid component with electric motors that run on power supplied by both the battery and gasoline. That's right, there's a fuel tank in the vehicle in the traditional place, though it's usually smaller than what is in a traditional internal combustion engine vehicle.

Jeep is saying that the forthcoming production variants of these vehicles will be the "most efficient and responsible Jeep vehicles ever, providing absolute and quiet open-air freedom while taking performance, 4x4 capability and driver confidence to the next level."

When can you expect to see the models for yourself? Jeep is touting official debuts of the vehicles this year at the Geneva, New York, and Beijing auto shows. The Geneva show is the first one on the calendar, happening the first week of March.

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Biden will target 50 percent of all vehicle sales for EVs by 2030.

Ford

In the last several months, we've seen automakers from all corners of the globe commit to some degree of electrification by the end of the decade and beyond. That includes the American Big Three: Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Stellantis (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, others). Today, President Joe Biden plans to throw his weight behind these efforts by signing an executive order that sets a goal of pushing the sales of zero-emissions vehicles to half of all vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2030.

Biden's target is not legally binding, but the industry is already jumping on board. In a joint statement, Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis confirmed that they aim to hit an EV sales volume of 40-50 percent annually. It's worth noting that the President's 50 percent goal and the automakers' sales targets also include plug-in hybrid vehicles, which still use a traditional gasoline engine.


Jeep PHEV The target also includes plug-in hybrid vehicles, which still use gas engines.Jeep


Auto unions and dealers are not opposed to the ambitious roadmaps laid out by the Big Three, but both have differing views on what is essential and how things will ultimately play out. While aware of the goals, the UAW is focused on wage growth and the preservation of jobs and benefits. It feels that an increase in EV production volume must happen here in the U.S. to include good-paying American union jobs.

Dealers, to a degree, are supportive of the goals but skeptical of their ultimate success. Some feel that electric vehicles do not present the earth-shattering shift in functionality and usability that other new products, such as smartphones, did in different industries. Regardless of concerns and skepticism, it appears that automakers are going all-in on the shift to electrification, so we're bound to see a wealth of new battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the next few years.


GM battery facility rendering Automakers are pledging billions to increase EV and PHEV production volume.GM

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Research and development

Ford names site for battery development facility

Ford's new facility will house battery research and development.

Ford

Ford is in the news again for its electrification efforts, this time with the confirmation of a Michigan location for a new battery research and development facility in Romulus, Michigan. The facility may eventually help Ford in-source much of its EV supply chain, a shift that could prevent or mitigate the challenges presented by parts and technology shortages.

As part of its electrification initiative, the automaker plans to build a new research and development facility, called Ford Ion Park. The facility will house new tech research, pilot programs for new manufacturing techniques, and will help give Ford more control over its supply chain.


Ford Ion Park Once complete, the facility will initially house 200 engineers.Ford


The price tag for the new facility and related efforts lands at $185 million, which sounds like chump change for a global automaker until we consider that Ford has committed $30 billion to electrification by 2025. The automaker says that its new facility renews its dedication to Michigan as its home base for EV development, a promise it originally made back in 2010. The company's new electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck will be built in Dearborn, which will add 500 jobs. An additional 225 jobs will be retained at Ford's Dyke Electric Powertrain Center.

As part of Phase One of the project, Ford plans to hire 200 engineers within 18 months of the 270,000-square-foot facility's opening. Ironically, the site was previously owned by A123 Systems, a battery manufacturer that closed the facility in 2017 due to low demand for batteries.


Ford Ion Park Ford has committed $185 million to the new facility and related efforts.Ford

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