Vehicles are slowly making the transition to electric, whether we like it or not. Most types of cars, from sports cars to daily commuters have received the treatment; however, one segment remains – the hardcore off-roader.
Jeep is about to bring that to an end by taking a leap into the unknown. That’s right, an all-electric Wrangler Concept has been revealed.
Making an electric off-roader will awaken the naysayers, especially when it’s done on a vehicle with a cult following as strong as the Wrangler’s. Jeep’s social media comment section will probably be filled with sentences along the lines of: how am I supposed to charge it in the middle of nowhere!? It won’t drive through water! Trucks are not what they used to be – and the lot.
In some respect, these arguments are true; however, we shall keep in mind that electric vehicles are still at their infancy and won’t completely take over until they are far more effective.
Personally, seeing what Jeep will do with the EV Wrangler excites me. If one brand can come up with the tech that will make a proper electric 4×4 – that is Jeep. Why do I say that? They are one of the very few, who no matter what, stay true to their roots.
In the early months of 2020 Jeep had given us a glimpse of what awaits the Wrangler line up with a plug-in hybrid version that has an all-electric range of 25 miles! (I sense a new marketplace trend coming up “short commute to work, mostly driven on electric”). Based on the plug-in hybrid specs and some images from the fully electric concept, the route Jeep has opted to take is clear and… it’s a good one!
The plug-in hybrid follows the traditional Wrangler recipe with solid axles, a fully waterproof battery pack and front and rear locking diffs (Rubicon).
It might even be more capable than the normal versions – with 375HP and 470 LB-FT of torque there will be plenty of power to overcome whatever challenge the beaten path throws at you.
In low range, it can run solely on electric power – imagine rock crawling in complete silence, that would be interesting. Also, the effects instant torque from the electric motors will have when off-roading will be interesting to see.
The reason I’ve provided information on the plug-in hybrid is to back up my following statement – the EV Wrangler will be a proper off-roader… there, I said it. Bold statement I know; however, with recent disappointment from Toyota and leaks of the 300 series Cruiser, our hopes for a proper “future proof” off-roader lay in Jeep.
As you can tell with the plug-in hybrid, Jeep has done a massive effort to keep the truck’s off-roading abilities uncompromised. Granted, it is more complicated now – but we can’t complain, this is a plug hybrid with locked solid axles front and rear – tell me about old (or rather ancient) meets the new.
My statement is further backed up by the two very conservative images Jeep has leaked. In the first photo, (that appears to be shot on a mobile phone’s camera from the early 2000s) the Wrangler’s exterior seems to be unchanged. That’s a good thing, Jeep decided to sacrifice precious EV miles for the legendary boxy looks of the Wrangler.
On the second image, which gives us a vague idea of how the drive train will operate, we can obviously see the battery packs and connections; Although, In the EV Wrangler’s case, that’s not what matters. What we care about, is the solid axle that is barely visible on the rear, the proper transfer case and two driveshafts in the middle with one going to the back and the other to the front.
This is great news, what Jeep has done here is leave the crucial foundation of the Wrangler untouched and replace all fossil fuel-powered components with electric ones. Doesn’t it feel great when a manufacturer does something the right way? They all seem so ignorant these days.
Anyhow, this looks promising. Surely, it won’t do any overlanding soon due to charging issues; however, Jeep has leaked an image of solar-powered charging stations in Moab. So, if Hells Revenge is on your list, charging your EV Wrangler won’t be an issue.
More information on the all-electric Wrangler will be available at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab scheduled for March 28 through April 3.
What do you think? Will you embrace the move towards the future? Or will you dread the death of the “proper” off-roaders?