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Why Alfa Romeo changed the name of its first EV

Alfa Romeo

One of the more exciting aspects of the world of EVs is finding out what kind of entrant some of our favorite car manufacturers decide to throw into the fray. Although it doesn’t get quite the same level of fanfare and accolades that the high-flying Lamborghinis and Ferraris get, Alfa Romeo has quietly gone about its business of being an elegant, performance-oriented Italian brand for decades. Alfa Romeo just debuted its first EV — the Milano — and then quickly changed the name. And it’s all thanks to the Italian government.

Why the name was changed

Alfa Romeo Milano
Alfa Romeo / Alfa Romeo

So, what happened? The EV is being built at a factory in Poland and is the first Alfa Romeo model to be made entirely outside of Italy. Adolfo Urso, Italy’s industry minister, said, “A car called Milano cannot be produced in Poland. This is forbidden by Italian law.”  In 2003, Italy passed legislation prohibiting products that falsely claim to be Italian.

According to the company, the Milano name had been chosen in honor of the city where Alfa Romeo’s history began over a century ago. Alfa Romeo had solicited opinions from the public when choosing the name — something it also did in 1966 when the public chose the name Duetto for the Spider 1600.

For its part, Alfa Romeo believes that the name meets the legal requirements but has opted to change it to Junior anyway in the “spirit of promoting mutual understanding.”

Jean-Philippe Imparato, CEO of Alfa Romeo, explained, “The choice of the name Junior is completely natural, as it is strongly linked to the history of the brand and has been among our favorites and among the public’s favorites since the beginning. As a team, we are choosing once again to share our passion for the brand and make the product and our customers the priority. We decided to change the name, even though we know that we are not required to do so, because we want to preserve the positive emotion that our products have always generated and avoid any type of controversy. The attention to our new sports compact that we’ve received the past few days is quite exciting as we had an unprecedented number of visits to the online configurator, causing the website to crash for a couple of hours.”

So what will the new Alfa Romeo Junior entail? Because it will be available outside of the U.S., all the EV’s measurements are presented to us in metric from Alfa Romeo. At 4.17 meters long, 1.78 meters wide, and 1.5 meters high, the Junior is around the same size as the Range Rover Evoque. Ironically, it is designed to evoke an emotional thrill beginning upfront with its iconic “Scudetto” V-Shield, offered up in two different options, Leggenda or Progresso. Leggneda trim uses a dark digital matte design, while Progresso looks a bit more futuristic as it encompasses innovation. Muscular wheel arches complement what Alfa calls its “kamm tail,” which refers to the Giulia TZ.

 The Alfa Romeo Junior gets up to 250 miles of range

The Junior sets a new standard in its class with its remarkably low curb weight, thanks to a cutting-edge 54-kWh battery and a Hybrid Synchronous Motor. It’s available in two versions: a 156 hp model and a more potent 240 hp variant. The latter can deliver a range of approximately 250 miles when equipped with the less powerful motor. And here’s the kicker-with a 100kW fast charger, it can recharge from 10-80% in under 30 minutes. 

In terms of sport, Alfa Romeo utilizes a mechanical self-locking differential, the most direct steering ratio in its class, a widened wheel track with specific front and rear anti-roll bars, twenty-inch wheels, and a sports suspension to allow the car to be a full-sized five-passenger athlete. 

 No official pricing has been announced for the Junior

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step inside the Junior, and you’ll be greeted by a high-tech haven. The cabin boasts dual 10.25-inch digital screens, with the center console screen being touch-enabled for easy customization. You can even create your own homepage. It also comes with 360-degree parking sensors and a 180-degree rear camera for semi-autonomous parking. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a modern EV without Level 2 autonomous driving capabilities.

While official pricing has yet to be announced, we can expect a starting MSRP to appear shortly. What we need to know is whether the very attractive Alfa Romeo Junior will ever be available domestically. Perhaps with enough emails, tweets, and mentions, the latest Alfa Romeo to the party might end up being the best. 

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Lou Ruggieri
A lifelong lover of cars, Lou contributes to Motor Trend, Hot Cars, Auto & Truck Connection, and the PowerAutoMedia Group.
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