Jeep just unveiled its first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) for the U.S. called the Wrangler 4xe–a new iteration of the quintessential Wrangler. The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) brand’s electrified Wrangler will be available in the U.S. by early 2021 and sold globally, according to a Fiat Chrysler press release.
The newly revealed Wrangler is part of Jeep’s commitment to electrifying its entire lineup. In January, Global President of Jeep Brand Christian Meunier told Car and Driver that by 2022, each vehicle in Jeep’s lineup will have an electric version and that the company would be “bringing as many electric vehicles” as it could. The Wrangler 4xe joins the Compass 4xe and Renegade 4xe models that debuted in European showrooms this summer. FCA says that all of Jeep’s electric-powered vehicles will feature the 4xe badge.
The plug-in Wrangler maintains the look of the iconic off-roader but has some distinct modifications. Most notably, it has a charging port and can run up to 25 miles on electricity, according to Fiat Chrysler. The company said in a press release that the Wrangler 4xe flexes 375 horsepower and that it is “first and foremost a Jeep Wrangler with Trail Rated running gear: solid front and rear axles, full-time 4×4 two-speed transfer case, fully articulating suspension and 30 inches of water fording capability.” The vehicle features three “E Selec” modes: hybrid, electric, and eSave. Hybrid combines electric and engine power, electric runs on battery only, and eSave utilizes engine power to conserve battery. Its battery back is stored under a second-row seat to protect it and to maximize vehicle space.
The Wrangler 4xe comes in three models: standard 4xe, and Sahara 4xe and Rubicon 4xe versions which boast more power, Fiat Chrysler says. The vehicle will come in 10 unique exterior colors ranging from “Firecracker Red” and “Hella Yella” to “Snozzberry” and “Sarge” green. Customers can choose between “Black with Heritage Tan cloth and Black with Dark Saddle leather,” for the interior. Electric blue coloring will be used in different areas on the interior and exterior of the Wrangler 4xe to distinguish the model from the non-4xe versions.
“Our Jeep 4xe vehicles will be the most efficient, responsible, and capable that the brand has ever created,” said Meunier in a Fiat Chrysler press release. “We are committed to make Jeep the greenest SUV brand. The electrification of the Jeep lineup will allow commuters to travel solely on electric power, delivering an efficient and fun on-road experience and offering an ability to enjoy even more Jeep capability off-road in nearly complete silence,” Meunier said.
Jeep’s transition toward an electric future is especially significant considering that the brand and its parent company, FCA, have lagged behind its counterparts like Ford and GM in terms of EV output. The company currently offers just one battery-powered EV in the U.S., and that is its Chrysler Pacifica minivan.According to The Associated Press (AP), a “big driver of the new offerings is FCA’s obligation to meet fuel economy and pollution regulations in Europe, China, and the U.S. or face stiff fines or steep costs to buy electric vehicle credits from companies like Tesla.” Although the price for the new Wrangler has yet to be confirmed, a non-electric 2021 four-door model starts at $31,795 without shipping. Meunier has said that a fully electric Wrangler is in the works but has not specified a release date, AP reports. Head of Jeep North America Jim Morrison recently announced that to coincide with the Wrangler 4xe release, Jeep “will install solar charging stations on select trails in California and Utah,” allowing drivers to fully charge in just around 2 hours. The chargers will be placed in convenient locations like camping spots, according to CNET Roadshow.