Jeep purists and fans, we’re going to have to sit you down for a moment. You might not be entirely prepared for this news. But it’s happening. The age of six cylinders pumping pure gasoline to power your off-roading stallion, is coming to an end. Jeep CEO Christian Meunier confirmed to UK’s Auto Express that the next generation Wrangler will be an off-roading EV.
Ok, it’s not that much of a surprise. Jeep has been playing with going electric for awhile now and the Wrangler 4xe was part of that toe-dipping experiment. But aside from a number of concepts we’ve seen from the brand, Meunier thinks Jeep customers are ready to embrace electrification because of how good the 4xe has been selling.
“In quarter one, 38 percent of all Wranglers we sold were [electrified] 4xe models,” he said. “And by the end of this year, I bet it’s going to be more like 50 or 60 per cent. That’s not because people are forced; when they test drive it, they understand they can drive 20 to 25 miles on electric power and go to the gas station less,” he said.”
For those who are concerned about the nimble off-roader’s trail capabilities with electric underpinnings, Meuiner reassures us that going electric won’t sacrifice Wrangler’s off-road performance:
Using Jeep’s Trail Rating system it uses for its models, Meunier explained that the next Wrangler will be rated a 12 on a scale of one to 10. ““At 10 is the two-door Wrangler Rubicon – the five-door Wrangler Rubicon is at nine. We start at four for the Renegade with Trail Rating. I want to push that to 12. We’re working with engineering on that,” he told Auto Express.
“The great thing about electrification is that it makes a Jeep more capable,” said Meunier. “It gives us more torque; it makes it smoother and more precise.
“Then the architecture around it, the suspension system, the axle you’re going to use, can be anything – a solid axle or independent suspension.”
So, Jeep loyals, don’t get too upset over your beloved off-roader’s transition to electric (like Dodge fans did when they announced their EVs). Like the old adage says, “don’t knock it till you try it.”
The new Wrangler is expected to appear sometime before the end of the decade.