As we reported earlier, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles today announced a big $10.5-billion investment into electrification as part of its new five-year business strategy, funding the introduction of electrified powertrain options for more than 30 of its nameplates. Jeep will lead the charge with no fewer than 14 electrified vehicles, while Maserati will put the technology front-and-center with its advanced, high-performance Alfieri halo car.
FCA has long been reluctant to put any major investments toward hybrid and battery-electric powertrain tech, but with the company now set to phase out most of its diesel passenger vehicles, the automaker needs some way of meeting ever-stricter CO2 emissions requirements around the globe. In the US, the Trump administration may well provide some regulatory relief for automakers in non-CARB states, but with the rest of North America set to mirror Europe, China, and other regions in encouraging or requiring low- and zero-emissions vehicles, it’s unclear how much that matters.
So, to keep the ball rolling with regard to emissions reductions, FCA has a mix of mild-, full-, and plug-in-hybrid vehicles, as well as battery-electric models, in the works. The all-new Ram 1500 and Jeep Wrangler (JL) have already premiered a new 48-volt belted alternator starter (BAS) hybrid system that will find its way into additional vehicles – including the Fiat 500 in 2020, which will be the automaker’s first FWD implementation. A bit later that year, a new version of the battery-electric Fiat 500e will drop.
Also in 2020, Jeep will bring out an AWD plug-in-hybrid version of the Renegade, followed shortly thereafter by a PHEV Wrangler. The Wrangler’s RWD/AWD-compatible system will find its way into a further 13 FCA vehicles. The following year, in 2021, a mild-hybrid Jeep Renegade will debut a new mild-hybrid system with a de-coupling electric motor that acts directly on the transmission input shaft, and the Chinese-market Grand Commander will follow that up with a battery-electric model.
Most intriguing of all is FCA’s electrification plans with regard to its premium Maserati brand. Not only will the new Maserati Alfieri halo car offer a plug-in-hybrid powertrain from 2021, but even before that, the sportscar will be available as a battery-electric model from 2020. Later, in 2022, the Quattroporte will follow suit, picking up a battery-electric powertrain option.
FCA has long been criticized for trailing behind its North American competitors with regard to hybrid and electric powertrain options. If today’s presentation proves anything, it’s that such criticism is no longer warranted.