2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale compact crossover SUV will enter the US market but only in the plug-in hybrid version, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jean-Philippe Imparato recently revealed.
When Alfa Romeo Automobiles S.p.A. –an Italian luxury car manufacturer and a subsidiary of automobile group Stellantis – officially introduced the Tonale compact crossover SUV in February this year, it was announced that the U.S. market would get with two AWD powertrains, viz. a 1.3-liter plug-in hybrid setup and a 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine.
However, the manufacturer has now apparently changed its plans as the chief executive of the company told reporters at the European Alfa Romeo Tonale test drive in Balocco (Italy) that the company has ditched the plan to offer the 256-horsepower internal combustion engine (ICE) version in the U.S. market.
While CEO Imparato didn’t go into details as to why the company decided to make only the plug-in hybrid version of the vehicle available in the U.S., a spokesperson for Alfa Romeo later explained that the decision was mainly taken to trim down CO2 emissions, especially in the so-called CARB states — the states that follow California’s strict emission rules.
California’s recently proposed Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) regulations, which are still waiting for the government’ final approval, specify that that the share of zero carbon emission vehicles for each automobile manufacturer (including plug-ins) must not be less than 35 per cent by 2026 and 100 per cent by 2035.
The 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale SUV with plug-in hybrid powertrain comes equipped with a 1.3-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 177-hp with a rear-mounted 121-hp (90 kilowatt) electric motor and a 15.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The system enables an all-electric range of 50 miles (roughly 80 km) on the WLTP City cycle. The electric motor and battery pack improve the vehicle’s fuel economy and lower carbon emissions to 26 to 33 grams per km.
At the recently held the Balocco event, CEO Imparato described the Tonale plug-in powertrain as “not just another powertrain” but an “existential need” of the time. He went on to state that the company’s first PHEV would slash the brand’s average carbon emissions by 40 per cent. He also claimed that the new vehicle would help boost the company’s sales in western and northern European markets where plug-in vehicles are quite are popular.