Jeep is launching the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, a vehicle that Christian Meunier, Global President of Jeep Brand – FCA, described as the company’s “bridge-head of electrification in the U.S. market,” arriving in volume in early 2021 (it will go into production at the Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio in early December and some may trickle into dealerships before the year is out). It is a plug-in hybrid, combining a 2.0-liter turbocharged four, a motor-generator mounted at the front of the engine (replacing the alternator), an engine-mounted motor-generator unit that is integrated into a ZF eight-speed transmission (ZF 8P75PH) and a 400-volt, 17-kWh, 96-cell lithium-ion, nickel manganese cobalt battery pack. The powertrain provides 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque.
Christian Meunier, Global President of Jeep Brand – FCA, introducing the Wrangler 4xe. (Images: Jeep)
Because this is a Jeep Wrangler, it has a 4x4 setup that is capable of climbing and crawling, as well as driving. There are three models: 4xe, Sahara 4xe and Rubicon 4xe. The first two have front and rear Dana 44 axles and the Selec-Trac two-speed transfer case (with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio).
The Rubicon 4xe has a Rock-Trac 4x4 system that includes a two-speed transfer case with a 4:1 low-range gear ratio; full-time 4x4, front and rear Dana 44 axles, and Tru-Lok electric front- and rear-axle lockers.
Key elements of the plug-in hybrid system for the Wrangler 4xe
For those who are wondering about electricity and water: Trail Rated Wrangler 4xes can ford up to 30 inches of water.
Meunier mentioned “You don’t need to make noise to be a legend,” referencing the fact that in full-electric mode—it has a range of 25 miles in EV mode, which means a lot of trail time—and possibly referencing the hue and cry about the forthcoming Ford Bronco.
Blue is the color of details on the Wrangler 4xe—outside and in—that signify electricity
Earlier this year announced the Jeep Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe models in Europe, where the company needs to pay attention to CO2 emissions. Menunier: “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”—remember: there are zones in European city centers where it is EV or big charges (e.g., £)—delivering an efficient and fun on-road experience and offering an ability to enjoy even more Jeep capability off-road in nearly complete silence.”
The 2021 Wrangler with the 2.0-liter I4 turbo alone (i.e., not electrification) has an EPA fuel economy rating of 22/24/23 mpg (city/highway/combined).
The Wrangler 4xe is expected to have a rating of 50 MPGe.
That’s a reason why, too.
Chinese electric-car startup Nio Inc. is forming a manufacturing joint venture with Beijing E-Town International Investment and Development Co., which is investing 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in the business.
The little car that could still can. And this time as a car that not only gets great fuel economy, but which has ride and handling that makes it more than an econo-box (and its styling is anything but boxy).
Dan Nicholson is vice president of General Motors Global Propulsion Systems, the organization that had been “GM Powertrain” for 24 years.