New Model News

Plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler coming before the end of 2020

The Jeep Renegade and Compass 4xe have already gone on sale in Europe.

Photo courtesy of FCA

More and more vehicles are being electrified and it was only a matter of time before America's beloved off-roader, the Jeep Wrangler, had its turn. Instead of first going mild-hybrid then advancing to full hybrid before landing on plug-in hybrid (PHEV), the brand is going straight to a plug-in hybrid version of the four-wheel drive model.

During the company' recent annual general meeting FCA CEO Mike Manely discussed the importance of the model to the U.S. market, sharing that it will be on the "front line of our electrification strategy in North America."

Despite the fact that FCA doesn't have many models available in the North American market that are electrified (Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Ram 1500 with the mild-hybrid powertrain are it), the company is expanding its options worldwide including the forthcoming Maserati Ghibli Hybrid. The coming merger with PSA Group should help bring many other parts of the lineup along.

Plug-in variants of the Wrangler will wear the "4xe" badge. This was first revealed at CES earlier this year. At that time, the brand revealed that PHEV versions of the Jeep Wrangler, Compass, and Renegade are all in the pipeline.

Jeep Renegade 4xe (European model)

Photo courtesy of FCA

Jeep Compass 4xe (European model)

Photo courtesy of FCA

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."

The Wrangler 4xe is expected to have 31 miles of all-electric range, can reach 62 mph when running on electric power, and have around 240 total combined horsepower.

Originally, the models were set to debut at the Geneva, New York, and Beijing auto shows. The Geneva show was cancelled as COVID-19 took hold in Europe. The New York International Auto Show was postponed to September as the pandemic ravaged New York. As the sickness continued to cause shutdown, the organizing body was forced to cancel the show altogether. The Beijing show is still on the books for September.

After its debut, the Wrangler PHEV will be available in China and Europe in the first quarter of 2021. The timeline for U.S. availability has not yet been made public.

The Renegade and Compass 4xe have already been shown to the European market and reservations are now being accepted. Both models are powered by a turbocharged 1.3-liter gasoline engine with an electric motor located between the rear wheels, which is powered by an 11.4 kilowatt-hour battery. Depending on trim level, the models achieve either 190 horsepower (Limited version) or 240 horsepower (Trailhawk and S). The models have Electric, Hybrid, Sport, and E-Save drive modes.

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Speedway gas stations will be added to the Seven & i Holdings company portfolio.

Photo courtesy of 7-Eleven

Does this mean slurpies in more places? The owner of 7-Eleven, Seven & i Holdings, has purchased the Speedway chain of gas stations from Marathon Petroleum for $21 billion. The sale is one of the biggest deals that has gone down since the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the economic fortunes of businesses worldwide.

The all-cash deal joins the two convenience store brands with other Seven & i Holdings properties, primarily based in the grocery sector. The company is the largest convenience store chain in Japan, owning 21,000 stores in the Asian country. They also own 9,800 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

Speedway gas station The acquisition adds 4,000 Speedway stores fo the company’s portfolio.Photo courtesy of Speedway

By picking up the Speedway chain of stores, Seven & i Holdings expands their footprint to include an additional 4,000 stores, giving the company a presence in 47 of the top 50 most populated areas in the U.S., the company said in a press release announcing the deal.

7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto explained that the deal will allow the company to diversify its holdings in key regions of the country, "particularly in the Midwest and East Coast."

In Japan, convenience stores are located apart from gas stations. This is also true of many communities in the Eastern U.S. However, in the Midwest and beyond, convenience stores are most often associated with a gas station.

As part of the deal, Marathon will provide 7.7 billion gallons of petroleum a year for 15 years to Seven & i Holdings. Marathon has been struggling in the wake of low gas prices, announcing last week that it will not restart production at refineries in New Mexico and California that had been idled since April.

The two companies had been negotiating the sale for months, struggling to come to an agreement over the price.

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