Alfa Romeo says it's working on a large SUV model that will be the brand's first vehicle to use an electrified powertrain.
Roberto Fedeli, the Italian brand's chief technical officer, told the UK's Auto Express that the automaker wants to expand into larger vehicle categories, but adopting hybrid technology is the only way to do so while complying with emissions regulations.
The as-yet-unnamed large SUV would slot into the lineup above the compact 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio model.
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Fedeli says a mild hybrid drivetrain is likely the direction Alfa will take, as he isn't sure the brand's buyers would be eager to adopt plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technology.
“We have to marry the new car with the right level of electrification," said Fedeli. "Plug-in hybrid could be a problem for the Alfa DNA point of view, but for instance a 48-volt mild hybrid solution is something that we can do without losing anything."
Fedeli explained that a performance-biased mild hybrid system (one that uses electricity to assist the gas engine, rather than allow electric-only driving) would allow it to create a powertrain built around a 2.0L turbocharged engine good for 350 to 400 hp. That top figure is notable as Volvo's quick XC90 T8 boasts a similar punch from its own hybridized four-cylinder engine. Alfa's current Stelvio uses a 2.0L turbo that makes 280 hp on its own.
Alfa is aiming for a quick turnaround for the upsized crossover model, which it hopes to bring to market in about two years.Hybrid Italian three-row planned 1/8/2018 3:04:42 PM 1/8/2018 3:04:42 PM