Fans of Jeeps, with their rugged, noisy, militaristic image, would seem to be unlikely buyers of EVs. But if you look at vehicle performance rather than demographic identity, a different picture emerges.
As prolific EV writer John Voelcker recently noted, off-roading is actually an ideal application for EVs. “Maximum torque at extremely low motor speeds, very fine control of that torque, and no need to shift among gears,” John writes in a recent LinkedIn post. “That all makes an EV a superior rock-crawler 4×4. Not to mention: silence in the wilderness.”
None of this is news to the designers at Jeep—the brand has been experimenting with electrification for some time. Jeep has created three pure electric Wrangler concepts—the Wrangler Magneto series, described as “stealthy, quiet, quick and an unmistakable rock-climbing force.” These have all been based on the current Wrangler’s body-on-frame platform (and the 3.0 version features a six-speed manual transmission).
In 2021, Jeep introduced its first plug-in hybrid model to the US (its third in Europe)—the Wrangler 4xe.
Now Motor Authority reports that the next Wrangler, the J70 series, will be built exclusively as a plug-in vehicle. Two powertrain options will be offered: a battery-electric and a series plug-in hybrid. Production is due to start in 2028 at the Wrangler plant in Toledo, Ohio, where Jeep will invest $1.5 billion to tool up for the new models.
Also in the works: the 2024 Jeep Recon EV, which will be built on Stellantis’s STLA Large dedicated EV platform, and will come with rock-crawling features such as Jeep Selec-Terrain traction management, an e-locker axle, under-body protection, tow hooks and gnarly off-road tires.
At least one sister Stellantis brand seems to be sticking to a similar strategy—the 2025 Ram 1500 pickup will be offered in 1500 REV electric and 1500 Ramcharger series plug-in hybrid versions.
Source: Motor Authority