The Jeep Patriot—despite what the image-conscious brand might say—is as much a stylish, chunky city car as it is a mild off-roader, so it's not surprising to us that Chrysler's new ENVI advanced vehicle team would electrify this versatile vehicle, set to make its debut Sunday at their Detroit auto show press conference.
And a little more energy independence, in the way of using home-grown power generation instead of foreign petro resources is the patriotic thing, no?
Unlike the Chrysler Town & Country EV and the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited EV introduced last September and also on the automaker's Detroit stage, the Jeep Patriot EV hasn't before been shown to the press or the public. But it looks much like the standard Patriot, though it's arguably a little sportier looking. Special EV decals and an 'ENVI Green Pearl' paint job, along with vertical accents and a cleaner-looking front fascia are fitted, the B- and C- side pillars have been blacked out, and the wheels have a unique five-spoke alloy design.
Inside, the Patriot EV is bone stock, with all of the new cues introduced in the mildly refreshed 2009 Jeep Patriot.
As with Chrysler's other vehicles on the Detroit auto show stand, the powertrain is the big news—and the future of the company might just rest on it. In the Patriot EV, an electric motor system provides motive power through the front wheels, enabled by an advanced lithium-ion battery pack that, when recharged, provides a driving range of about 40 miles—enough, potentially, for a daily commute or a weekend afternoon of errands. After the battery runs down, you're not stranded; then a small 60-horsepower gasoline engine kicks on to provide continuous electric power for the motor system. Total driving range, including the initial charged battery pack, is about 400 miles.
Performance is similar, if not better, than the gasoline-powered Patriot, with zero-to-60 mph times of about eight seconds and a top speed of over 100 mph.
As the Patriot shares its platform—and Belvidere, Illinois assembly—with the Jeep Compass and Dodge Caliber, those vehicles are likely fair game for the same system.
We'll bring you more from the Chrysler stand tomorrow.