It’s no news that Stellantis is developing an Electric Jeep (Jeep 516) to hunt for market share in the segment below the Jeep Renegade. In an interview with ABC News in December 2021, Jeep CEO Christian Meunier revealed that the launch of the first Electric Jeep will take place at the end of 2022. In all likeliness, the first Jeep EV would be the zero-emission variant of the Jeep 516.
On August 3, 2021, Stellantis had confirmed that it plans to launch the first all-electric Jeep in H1 2023 (January-June 2023). In the ABC News interview, Meunier probably meant that it was the official unveiling of the first electric Jeep that is to happen this year. The sales launch could be set in H1 2023, just as formally confirmed earlier. The Electric Jeep would be one of the 11 pure electric vehicles Stellantis releases in the market by June 2023. Given the late-2022 unveiling date, road testing could begin soon.
According to a report from Automotive News Europe, Stellantis plans to produce the small Jeep SUV at Fiat’s Tychy (Poland) factory in November 2022. Production would start with a gasoline engine, whereas the full-electric version will trail it in February 2023, and finally a mild-hybrid version in January 2024, it reported. The reported SOP date supports our speculation that this is the Electric Jeep Stellantis plans to launch in H1 2023.
In a conference call to discuss Stellantis’ Q3 2021 shipments and revenues on October 28, 2021, Richard Palmer, the company’s CFO, also suggested a similar production timeline. When an analyst asked Palmer if he could confirm if “we’re going to see the first ex-FCA brands being produced on ex-FCA platform” in Tychy in 2022, he said:
Yeah, I think towards the end of ‘22 (or) beginning of ’23. Yeah, that’s right.Richard Palmer, CFO, Stellantis (Q3 2021 revenues and shipments conference call on October 28, 2021)
BYD could provide its ‘Blade’ battery to the Electric Jeep, as the report states that the supplier would switch from CATL to BYD in July 2023. Stellantis has set an annual production target of 300,000 units for three new crossover/SUV models from Fiat, Jeep, and Alfa Romeo, and it sees the Jeep 516 accounting for a little over a third of the volume.
Jeep 516 design
The teaser (featured image) Jeep revealed at the Stellantis EV Day 2021 provides a fair idea about the Electric Jeep’s city-sized exterior. Similar to the Renegade, the smallest Jeep to-be builds on the Wrangler’s powerful stance with a rugged body form and classical SUV proportions. We spot a squarish nose, high and flat bonnet, straight roofline, and an upright tail section. It’s not visible in the teaser, but expect the Electric Jeep with short overhangs, trapezoidal wheel arches, ample ground clearance, and a large greenhouse, too. There are some basic attributes Jeep would want every single model to have, as design chief Mark Allen explained at a virtual roundtable in July 2021:
Some of the design elements we talk about in the vehicle, and it doesn’t matter which Jeep model we are working on, these are the things that are in our mind – the short front overhang, the approach angle, the breakover angle, rear overhang very tight, all of these things we try to bake into every model we do. Outward visibility is something you’ll be hearing from me a lot of. I’m just pushing that we move more and more open outward visibility on everything we do. Wheel position and jounce is important for us, no matter the model.Mark Allen, Head of Design, Jeep, on the ingredients that make a Jeep
Electric Jeep to ride on the e-CMP platform
In March 2021, a report from France’s L’Argus had said that Stellantis had begun studies on offering eAWD in the smallest Jeep electric SUV. Following the merger, Stellantis has selected the PSA-Dongfeng co-developed CMP platform for the Jeep SUV. The CMP is available in a variant enabling electric powertrain application called ‘e-CMP,’ which could be pared-down to achieve the cost target.
While the CMP platform brings cost advantages and full electrification capability to the table, it doesn’t allow a four-wheel drive like the FCA-developed small-wide 4×4 platform that was expected to underpin the Jeep 516 previously.
However, a true Jeep does not come without off-road capability, and Stellantis is developing a solution. The 100 kW (136 PS) motor of today’s eCMP models will be used to power the front wheels of the Electric Jeep. According to the French publication’s information, Stellantis is working on the eAWD variant with an additional rear-mounted motor. The L’Argus report stated that standard variants of the Jeep 516 would be available with Groupe PSA’s 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine with mild-hybrid technology.
Italy and India are likely leading the development of the Jeep 516 and its pure electric Jeep variant. “Our team is working on it (Jeep small SUV) day and night,” Partha Datta, President & Managing Director, FCA (India), told ETAuto in February 2021. The same month, Datta strongly indicated that the Jeep baby SUV would ride on the Citroen CC21’s CMP platform, paving the way for a pure electric Jeep compact SUV by mid-decade. “The product architecture and feature content (of the Jeep 516) are being fine-tuned because of the recent developments,” Datta told Autocar India.
By “the recent developments,” Datta was referring to the merger of FCA and Groupe PSA into Stellantis. The merger at the global level was completed in the middle of January 2021. Several EVs based on eCMP already exist in Europe, such as Opel Mokka-e, Peugeot e-2008, Citroen e-C4, and DS 3 Crossback E-Tense.
Jeep electrification strategy
By 2025, Jeep plans to offer a zero-emission, fully electric model in every single SUV segment, Meunier revealed at the Stellantis EV Day 2021. The company aims to turn 70% of its annual sales by then to electrified models. Even the biggest Jeeps, not excluding the flagship Grand Wagoneer, will go all-electric by 2025.
Featured Image Source: Stellantis