Jeep introduces the PHEV model of the Wrangler with an electric range of up to 53 km. The prices for the Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid start from 69,500 euros.
Anyone who still has doubts that we are just about to enter the electric age can now bury them at the latest. With the electrification of the primordial meter of all off-road vehicles, modernity is finding its way into the last reserve of pure combustion theory. The Jeep Wrangler 4xe is the brand's fourth plug-in hybrid model after the Jeep Grand Commander PHEV and the Jeep Compass and Jeep Renegade PHEV siblings. And not the last, because in the future a new plug-in hybrid should be available in every Jeep series.
With the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, the developers went a special way, because the maximum possible off-road capability of the Wrangler as a core competence of this model could not be questioned. This meant that a technology common to modern PHEV SUVs is in the game: the rear axle was driven purely by an electric motor. Such a solution, used by most manufacturers brings the traction advantages of an all-wheel drive but is not as powerful as a 4x4 drive with a mechanical connection of both drive axles due to the system in extreme off-road use.
As a solution, Jeep uses an electric motor integrated into the main transmission for the Wrangler 4xe. This is installed in the Torqueflite eight-speed automatic transmission in place of the torque converter. The combustion engine is the 2-litre turbo gasoline engine, which is also used in the Cherokee and Alfa Romeo models. The engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger brings 280 hp to the Jeep Wrangler 4xe.
The electric motor between the engine and the transmission works with two clutches. One is used to decouple the complete gear unit from the motor. The second clutch on the transmission side takes on the function of a torque converter with a variable control to connect the transmission to the crankshaft depending on the load.
Due to the integration of the electric motor, the gear unit is slightly longer, and the lengths of the two cardan-shafts vary accordingly compared to the standard models of the Jeep Wrangler. The battery is located below the rear seats and has a total capacity of 17.3 kWh. For the European version, Jeep has now also announced the data for the two electric motors. The belt starter generator supplies up to 46 kW at short notice and 20 kW in continuous operation, the engine integrated into the gearbox achieves a maximum of 107 kW, and the manufacturer specifies the maximum output in continuous operation as 47 kW. The maximum system output is 280 kW / 380 hp.
As is usual with plug-in hybrids, the Jeep Wrangler 4xe also has 3 different driving modes. The standard is the "Hybrid" mode with an interaction between the combustion engine and the e-machine; purely electric operation can optionally be preselected. Another setting for "Save" mode either preserves the existing battery charge or charges the traction battery via the combustion engine while driving. The latter can be set via a new menu item in the Uconnect multimedia system. The strength of the recuperation can also be preselected in two stages. The WLTP range is 44 km combined and up to 53 km in city mode.
Otherwise, the off-road capabilities of the Jeep Wrangler 4xe should not be inferior to that of its combustion engine associates. Axle differential locks, lift-up chassis, larger off-road tires - the full range is also available for the plug-in hybrid. Due to the waterproof encapsulation of all electrical components, the maximum wading depth of 30 inches, which corresponds to 76 centimetres, remains.
The Jeep Wrangler 4Xe plug-in hybrid will be launched as an 80th-anniversary special model. Among other things, leather upholstery, the hardtop painted in the vehicle colour and all available safety assistance systems are part of the standard package. The Jeep Wrangler 4xe First Edition also receives a maintenance package for 24 months.
The Jeep Wrangler 4xe 80th Anniversary is being offered for 72,500 euros. The Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid standard edition has a starting price of 69,500 euros. All variants can be ordered immediately. Deliveries should start this summer.
With the integration of the electric motor instead of the torque converter between the engine and the automatic transmission, a more complex approach was chosen. In all likelihood, this will pay off, especially when it comes to the off-road capabilities of the Jeep Wrangler 4xe. Not only through the high-torque and quiet drive in tricky situations. The real mechanical all-wheel drive, even purely electric if desired, has clear advantages in terms of traction and robustness, even if the power consumption is likely to be a little higher. @via Jeep.