An Electric Wrangler Will Still Be a True Jeep

The Jeep Wrangler has one of the most distinctive personalities of any motor vehicle. That said, what gives a Wrangler its unique characteristics is not its engine. Jeep has actually already unveiled an EV concept that is still very much a Wrangler.

Why do people love the Wrangler so much?

The Wrangler offers Jeep fans a very unique driving experience. This is due to its heavy-duty, body-on-frame construction, solid front axle, part-time 4WD, and its available short wheelbase.

A Willys Jeep and Dodge truck parked on a mountain pass during a WW2 training exercies.
1944 Willys Jeep | Jim Heimann Collection via Getty Images

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The unique configuration of the Jeep Wrangler dates all the way back to WWII. Allied forces needed a 4×4 to transport troops across Europe’s broken infrastructure. They would have preferred something with the fuel efficiency and turning radius of a modern side-by-side. But the best Detroit could do at the time was the Willys Jeep.

Soldiers loved the driving characteristics of the Jeep so much that when Willy introduced a civilian Jeep (the CJ) after the war, veterans and outdoor enthusiasts bought it in droves.

Do all Jeep Wranglers have the same engine?

Jeep has offered the CJ and its successor, the Wrangler, with many engine options throughout the years. Today, Stellantis builds Jeeps with gasoline, diesel, and hybrid engines. While these different powerplants change the characteristics of the 4×4, they do not change its basic personality.

Gray two-door Jeep Rubicon navigating a rock-crawling trail.
Jeep Wrangler | Cody Lannom via Unsplash

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The Willys company updated its CJ several times before Jeep was bought by the American Motors Corporation (AMC) in 1970. Then, Chrysler purchased Jeep in 1987 and hung onto it through its mergers with Fiat and Stellantis.

Chrysler renamed the CJ the “Wrangler,” though only updated it with slight tweaks over the years. Each new buy-out or merger of Jeep led to new powerplants for the CJ/Wrangler. Jeep engines evolved from carbureted, to fuel-injected, and naturally-aspirated to modern turbocharged options. But even with these increasingly advanced powerplants, this iconic SUV was always defined by its frame, ground clearance, and driveline.

Will the Jeep Wrangler go electric?

Stellantis is pivoting rapidly and aims to offer electric variations of many vehicles soon. It unveiled an electric Jeep Wrangler concept in 2021 and is currently selling a plug-in hybrid Wrangler to the public. The full battery-electric Wrangler is likely coming soon.

The all-new Jeep Magneto 4x4 EV concept in the desert of Utah.
Jeep Wrangler Magneto 2.0 Concept | Stellantis

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Jeep’s headline-catching electric Wrangler concept is known as the Magneto. The Magneto debuted at the 2021 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. The concept returned for the 2022 Safari, with an updated powertrain and Magneto 2.0 badging.

One of the most unique aspects of the Magneto 2.0 concept is its custom axial flux electric motor. This motor can make 625 horsepower and 850 lb-ft of torque, but redlines at 5,250 RPMs. Therefore, the Magneto 2.0 also has an old-school six-speed manual transmission.

The Magneto 2.0 rides on 40-inch off-road tires and 20-inch rims. It has a 3-inch lift kit and Dynatrac Pro-Rock axles with lockers. Its frame is a slightly stretched two-door Wrangler, giving it similar dimensions to the 2004-06 Wrangler Unlimited. The resulting 4×4 can tackle the most difficult trails and also reach 60 mph in just 2.0 seconds.

The Magneto 2.0 is less a revolution and more an evolution of what has made Jeeps great since WWII. The Wrangler could have a bright electric future while remaining true to its roots.

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