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Jeep’s first electric SUV to arrive in Europe in 2023: CEO

Jeep plans to sell only electric vehicles in Europe by 2030 – Copyright AFP Kazuhiro NOGI

Taymaz SHIRNIKS

Jeep will launch its first all-electric SUV for Europe, the Avenger, next year, CEO Christian Meunier told AFP on Thursday as its parent company, Stellantis, moves away from fossil fuel vehicles.

“We have a very strong DNA – electrification is a means of amplifying it,” the French director of the American automaker AFP said when the company unveiled its first electric models to the media.

Jeep plans to sell only electric vehicles in Europe by 2030, in line with the Dare Forward plans of its parent company Stellantis, a US-European group whose other brands include Peugeot, Fiat, Chrysler and Alfa Romeo.

By the end of the decade, battery electric vehicles will account for half of Stellantis vehicle sales in the US.

The small and rugged Avenger has a range of 400 kilometers (250 miles) on a single charge.

Compared to petrol models, it will be “a little heavier given its batteries, but the acceleration and fun will remain,” Meunier said.

Another electric model to add to the Jeep lineup is the boxier, more off-road-oriented Recon, which features a sliding roof and removable doors.

Recon will launch in North America in 2024.

Jeep is also launching an electric variant of its biggest SUV, the 600-horsepower Wagoneer S, with a range of 600 kilometers.

– Made in Poland –

The debut of the Avenger is scheduled for October 17 at the Paris Motor Show, and it will appear in showrooms in the first half of next year.

Production is due to start in Tychy, Poland, in November at the Stellantis plant where the Fiat 500 is built.

“We design and develop the most powerful and environmentally friendly Jeep SUVs to date to become the leading zero-emission SUV brand in the world,” Meunier said.

“Electrification is great for our brand, making it even more functional, exciting, sustainable and fun,” he said.

The electric vehicle line is meant to help Jeep gain more market share in Europe, with North America accounting for 60 percent of its sales.

“The all-new Avenger will offer Jeep brand capabilities optimized for the European market,” said Antonella Bruno, head of Jeep Europe at Stellantis.

It “will appeal to a growing range of customers who are looking for a powerful, compact, modern and all-electric alternative to the Jeep brand of current players.”

Meunier said the new models will allow the maker to expand its profile in the long term, similar to its recent foray into Italy, home to founding member Fiat and where Jeep assembles the Renegade and Compass SUV models.

In Italy, the company occupied four percent of the market.

On the contrary, it requires rethinking in China after the collapse of the joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC).

Globally, Meunier said that “two or three years ago, when we were talking about electrification, it was unimaginable for Jeep fans.”

But today, 25 percent of Wrangler sales are plug-in hybrids, he said.

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