Jeep hybrids are 'inevitable'

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When it comes to the possibility of hybrid powertrains in a future Jeep, it's not a question of "if" but "when." That's what Chrysler Asia-Pacific product planning manager Steve Bartoli is saying, according to the Australia publication Drive.

Bartoli was quick to add that Chrysler hasn't made any definite plans to build hybrid-electric powertrains for Jeep, and expressed concerns over the off-road performance and durability of such a powertrain. But he noted that increasingly strict greenhouse-gas emissions mandates in regions such as the US and Europe are pushing Jeep towards such a decision. Chrysler made hybrid versions of the Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango SUVs way back in 2008, but the models weren't exactly impressive on the fuel-economy front (they had a 20/22 city/highway MPG split, which was actually good for best-in-class efficiency) and were discontinued in short order.

Chrysler's only electrified vehicle sold in the US is actually the 500e electric vehicle made by sister company Fiat, and that model is sold in limited numbers and only in California. As a result of the lack of hybrids and the presence of such gas-guzzling SUVs, Chrysler-Fiat came in at rock bottom among the major US automakers in fleetwide fuel economy for the 2013 model year, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency's "Trends" report. Chrysler and Fiat vehicles averaged 21.6 miles per gallon, compared to the overall average 24.0 mpg, according to the EPA.

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