Jeep previews fully electric Wrangler

Jeep has quietly confirmed that an electric Wrangler concept will be shown next month at the company’s Easter Moab Safari event in Utah.

A new website, dubbed The Road Ahead, was set up by the US company after the first showing of its Super Bowl advert, which featured Bruce Springsteen. A small box on the site details Jeep’s plan “to reveal a 100% battery-powered Wrangler BEV concept” at the event, which will start on 27 March.

Media reports last week suggested that the event had been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but organisers have now clarified that the event will go ahead.

Official details of the electric Wrangler remain thin on the ground, but the preview images reveal its powertrain layout under the skin. An electric motor at the front is visible, while battery modules are squeezed into the existing Wrangler’s ladder-frame chassis.

Interestingly, the 4×4 also appears to retain a fairly traditional longitudinal gearbox and transfer case coming from the motor, with a driveshaft and differential connecting the rear wheels for four-wheel drive. That differs significantly from most four-wheel drive EVs, which have no physical connection between two electric motors mounted upon each axle and rely on electronics to split drive between them.

The layout isn’t dissimilar from that of the new Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid, albeit with additional battery capacity over the 17kWh pack that features. That delivers a modest 40 kilometres of electric range (expect that to substantially increase for the BEV) while retaining the off-road prowess required of a Wrangler.

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Also previewed on Jeep’s latest website is a plan to install Jeep-branded solar-powered charging stations across the firm’s Badge of Honor trails in the US. These will include Moab, Utah, as well as the Rubicon Trail in California.

Furthermore, Jeep plans to launch a Hands Free Active Driving Assist function in some markets in late 2021, while the recently revealed Cherokee will benefit from a plug-in hybrid 4xe variant, too.

Lawrence Allan

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