Currently reading: Alfa Romeo plots small electric SUV for 2022
Brand will complete its four-strong line-up using PSA platform and powertrain
Rachel Burgess
News
4 mins read
1 June 2020

Alfa Romeo is preparing its first electric vehicle for 2022 as the smallest in a trio of SUVs intended to bring the Italian premium brand back from the brink.

The electric compact SUV, similar in size to an Audi Q2, will be crucial in reviving the firm’s dwindling sales in a fast-evolving market where emissions legislation is becoming increasingly tough.

The parent company of Alfa Romeo, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has been on the back foot with electrification, which is why its ongoing merger with the EV-savvy PSA Group should reap substantial benefits.

Alfa Romeo currently offers no electrified powertrain, but early next year it will launch a mid-size SUV, the Tonale, to be offered as a plug-in hybrid.

Back in 2018, Alfa Romeo announced bold plans to bring back the 8C supercar and the GTV as a Giulia coupé. But by late last year, its strategy had been pared back to just four more mainstream models.

Once the ageing Giulietta family hatchback is retired later this year, Alfa Romeo will sell only the Giulia and Stelvio. The Tonale will be on the road in 2021, followed by the smaller, electric SUV in 2022, completing the brand’s four-strong line-up.

Alfa Romeo will rely on the two smaller SUVs to ensure it achieves its goal of selling 400,000 cars annually. The firm hasn’t yet announced its 2019 global figures, having been delayed by the Covid-19 crisis, but it sold 54,365 cars in Europe – a drop of more than 50% on the year before.

It’s not until Alfa Romeo hits that target that enthusiasts might get what they desire: the pretty sports cars for which the brand is known. The styling of the EV won’t be identical to the Tonale, according to Alfa Romeo.

A spokesman said: “A family feel will be respected – we have style themes across the range – but we don’t want to do a copy and paste across the line-up, because every segment has its own personality, and customers are different in terms of age and expectations.”

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While the plug-in hybrid powertrain in the Tonale will use existing FCA hardware, sharing with the Jeep Renegade, it’s expected that the electric Alfa Romeo will be the first FCA car to make use of the technology gained from the merger with PSA.

The EV will sit on a version of PSA’s eCMP platform, on which seven zero-emissions models will be based by next year. These already include electric versions of the Peugeot 208, Peugeot 2008, Vauxhall Corsa and DS 3 Crossback.

The e-2008, of a similar size to the future Alfa Romeo EV, uses a single motor to drive its front wheels, producing 136bhp and 192lb ft of torque. A 50kWh battery pack gives it up to 192 miles of range on the WLTP test cycle.

However, the specifications of Alfa Romeo’s offering will be different – due not only to how rapidly EV technology is developing but also to the brand’s focus on performance.

Talking about the approach to Alfa Romeo’s first EV, the spokesman said: “When we launched the Giulia and Stelvio, we were recognised as a sporty brand, because of the amazing handling. We’re trying to communicate that our cars are not only sporty but can also be driven in a comfortable way – something that previously customers wouldn’t expect from Alfa Romeo, to help us appeal to a larger customer base.

“For electric, we will stay consistent to Alfa Romeo’s sportiness and use electric motors for a performance approach. We’re looking to achieve an Alfa Romeo customer’s expectations but also [those of] customers looking for comfort.”

He added that Alfa Romeo sees the small SUV market as the best in which to offer an EV, saying: “The B-segment is probably the best solution for range and usage, and the recharging infrastructure will be better [by the time we launch the car].”

The spokesman continued: “We will see the evolution of the market quite quickly. We’re seeing different approaches in the market – some successful, some not so. We have the opportunity to see what advances and react in the proper way.”

Alfa Romeo is set to emulate some other brands that are launching EVs, such as Porsche with the Taycan, by offering artificial sounds.

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The spokesman said: “The idea isn’t to make fake sounds to recreate an internal combustion engine, because we won’t have fake things inside Alfas. The idea is to create a specific sound to get emotion from both the driver and car. An advantage of an electric car is silence – if the customer wants to drive that way. But also the possibility of an aggressive mode.”

READ MORE

New Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA is firm's most powerful model yet 

Alfa Romeo scraps plans for new GTV and 8C models 

New Alfa Romeo Tonale: 2020 production car leaks online 

Alfa Romeo axes 4C sports car to focus on SUVs

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Comments
10

1 June 2020

For every new model AR were gonna make, I'd be a rich fella...

Robbo

A View from Down Under

1 June 2020

 Yes, it's all very well saying we are going to this and that, but, there product must be good from the start, there's no point in rushing to market with a 99% ready car!, and Alfa have done that before.

1 June 2020
So we loose the 8c and jaw dropping GTV but gain another me to small SUV based on a plodding Peugeot 2008. I realise it's market forces, but it does make me sad.

1 June 2020

FCA and PSA should merge with a Japanese or Korean company, even a small one, in order to improve their Achilles heel - reliability

1 June 2020

People have been so obessed with dissing JLR products AR got off the hook of selling sub-standard products for to long, sales have dived dived dived and FIAT don't have the tech to bail them out

1 June 2020
Now's a good time to pull all these brands into one. Jaguar, AR and Maserati. PSA could probably manage Jaguar far better than the clowns at JLR have managed. Merging these 3 brands is likely to make commercial sense, all 3 need greater volumes, all 3 have a similar heritage and all could share a platform.

1 June 2020

Peugeot 2008, DS3 Crossback, Vauxhall Mokka, Fiat 500x successor, and now this small Alfa SUV, all slight variations of essentially the same model. And then you wonder why Renault Nissan  are wanting to streamline their model ranges.

1 June 2020

A headline to make the stomach churn.

1 June 2020

In 50 years time Alfa will still be talking about product plans to raise sales to 400,000 a year and never achieving them

 

2 June 2020

 Now we are really getting back to 60's badge engineering. What next resurrect Lancia again.

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