Electric Jeep Wrangler to be the most capable Jeep [Update]

The Jeep Wrangler Magneto concept (electric Jeep Wrangler concept) was revealed at the Moab Easter Jeep Safari held between 27 March to 4 April 2021. According to Mark Allen, head of Jeep’s design studio, the Jeep Wrangler electric could hit showroom floors in the ‘following years,’ though he did not put a timeline to the launch. Jeep may not delay the launch beyond 2024 when its STLA Frame platform (designed for electric pickup trucks) with a range of 500 miles (800 km) would be ready for deployment.

Jeep’s plan to electrify its range includes introducing a plug-in hybrid in addition to the Jeep Wrangler EV that can do 0 to 100 km/h in six seconds. Last year, talking to Autocar UK, Christian Meunier, Global President of Jeep, said that the fully-electric Wrangler Rubicon model would be the most capable Jeep ever, and drivers will be able to experience acceleration impossible with an internal combustion engine.

Meunier believes that the electrification of its models will make Jeep the greenest and most sustainable SUV brand putting it ahead of the likes of Land Rover and even brands like Ford and GM, which are committed to electrifying their SUVs and pickups.

Jeep Wrangler Electric Design

The Jeep Wrangler Magneto is perhaps the closest we are to the final Jeep Wrangler Electric project. According to The Detroit News, Allen has already said that the Magneto would be taken to Jeep’s natural testing ground, Moab, over the next three years. And while the Magneto is currently the baseline, Allen has said that the production model of the Wrangler Electric will look quite different.

Speaking at an APAC virtual conference on July 13, Christian Meunier said that with EV tech bringing in so many possibilities such as more space for people and gear, the electric variant of the Wrangler will only get better. According to Meunier, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 is a dream vehicle but thanks to electrification and the changing world, improvements can be made.

In the same conference, Allen spoke about how the electric platform helps with redesigning the Wrangler. With ideas such as a lower shorter hood, more forward-set wheels, and even front storage, Allen says that a lot of big things that couldn’t be moved around can now be. “I think we can make a much more efficient package to the vehicle,” he said.

Jeep Wrangler 4xe
The Jeep Wrangler EV is unlikely to have any major design differences from the regular Wrangler when it comes out around 2024. Image Source: Stellantis

Recollecting the time when Jeep replaced the round headlamps with square units, Allen said, “people were horrified by that.” The company isn’t ready to throw away its theme. The traditional design is very important for the customer and because of that, future Wranglers will continue to have connections with the original 1941 Willys Jeep, Allen said.

One of the biggest challenges for Jeep enthusiasts comes with charging infrastructure during long camping trips. To solve this, Jeep is dedicated to using solar-powered charging stations two of which are coming to the Badge of Honor trails at Moab and the Rubicon Trail in California respectively.

Allen previously said that the Magneto is just a test-bed, a concept to gauge Jeep enthusiasts’ reactions. The Magneto is being used to see what a battery electric vehicle can do in an off-road environment such as Moab and answer other questions that they have, Allen said.

Jeep Wrangler Electric features

At the Stellantis EV Day 2021, Jeep revealed key features of the Wrangler EV. Biometric recognition technology will allow the customers to conveniently unlock and start their Wrangler EV with a simple scan of their faces. A horizontal lightbar located behind the signature seven-slot grille, likely at the same height as the LED front fog lamps, will provide extra illumination in the dark and make the electric variant instantly recognizable. Bi-directional charging will enable ‘peer-to-peer charging,’ meaning that it will be possible to charge other vehicles using the battery power of the Wrangler EV. Lastly, drone pairing will also be available.

Video Source: YouTube/Jeep

By 2030, Jeep envisions the Wrangler EV with more capabilities like autonomous off-road driving and remote vehicle tracking. The video above shows a Jeep Wrangler EV (Jeep Wrangler Freedom) driving up a hill to pick up the driver and passenger.

Specifications of the Jeep Wrangler Electric prototype

Jeep has used a custom-built axial flux electric motor that operates up to 6,000 rpm, combined with four battery packs with a combined power of 70 kWh, running an 800-volt system on the Wrangler Magneto. A 6-speed MT with regen available during clutch engagement is another highlight of the concept. Jeep says the performance from the electric Wrangler is comparable to a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, with 285 hp and 273 lb.-ft (370 Nm) of torque, enabling the electric Jeep Wrangler to spring to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.8 seconds.

Jeep Magneto rear
The electric Jeep Wrangler is expected to spring to 100 km/h in around 6 seconds. Expect the release date in 2024, riding on Stellantis’ new STLA Frame platform, with a range of 500 miles (800 km). Image: Jeep

The Li-ion batteries are distributed around the electric Jeep Wrangler on the four wheels to balance the weight. With one pack replacing the Wrangler’s fuel tank and another mounted opposite the fuel tank, the third pack sits on top of the e-motor and the fourth in the space normally used for a rear storage compartment.

Jeep to expand its electrified model line

Jeep’s electrified models will be focusing on big markets like Europe, China, and the USA for the majority of their sales. The United States being the biggest market for the brand, Jeep is confident that it can convince people to adopt EV products faster. Given Jeep’s appeal to off-road enthusiasts, the EV models with their high voltage batteries will further benefit them as they double up as power sources for their lights, camping equipment, and gears. Through partnerships, Jeep would also build solar-powered vehicle charging stations in remote locations.

Stellantis chief Carlos Tavares expects sales of electrified vehicles to reach 70 percent in Europe and 35 percent in North America by the year 2030. Meunier said at the Stellantis EV Day 2021 that Jeep will have a zero-emission model in every SUV segment in 2025.

Until the arrival of the electric Jeep Wrangler, Jeep enthusiasts yearning for a charging port will have to contend with the Wrangler 4xe, Jeep’s first PHEV in North America, which starts at USD 47,995. The Wrangler 4xe is America’s best-selling plug-in hybrid vehicle (retail), and the entire year’s production is sold-out.

How an Electric powertrain helps Jeep

Stricter emission norms and a changing environment are probably the biggest reasons for the Jeep Wrangler to go electric. There are more advantages, however. Features such as a front trunk make the vehicle more practical in both urban and off-road environments. An electric powertrain’s silent drive is an excellent feature to have when on a bird-watching or any other kind of safari. But the biggest advantage comes because so many Jeep enthusiasts love to push the limits of what they vehicles can do. The instant torque required in these situations is something an electric powertrain does naturally. Add in a shorter hood for better trail visibility and a motor dedicated to each wheel for better off-road capability.

The virtual roundtable on July 13 also teased a fully submersed Wrangler. Of course, at the moment that isn’t possible, but Meunier says that capability is a “wink to the future” suggesting that Jeep could actually be working on that. “It could be a dream after 2030. Maybe not a dream, though,” he said.

Bronco EV to take on the Jeep Wrangler EV

Like Jeep, Ford may launch a pure electric variant of its hardcore off-roader. The Blue Oval has given a few hints recently that it plans to launch a Bronco EV. On 10 May 2021, Twitter user Powered by Tesla (@gendyn01) asked Jim Farley Jr., President and CEO, Ford, why isn’t there an electric option for a Bronco. In response, Farley Jr., said: “Why do you think we don’t?”

Ford Bronco EV teaser
A Ford Bronco EV is in the pipeline, set to challenge the Jeep Wrangler EV. Image Source: Vimeo/Ford

Two weeks later, on 26 May 2021, Hau Thai-Tang, Chief Product Platform and Operations Officer, Ford, announced a new RWD/AWD BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) flexible architecture. Thai-Tang confirmed that the company plans to build “rugged SUVs” for its “adventure-seeking customers” on the new dedicated EV platform. Moreover, while saying “rugged SUVs,” a teaser of a future EV that looked like a Bronco EV flashed on the screen.

Featured Image Source: Jeep