Is Jeep Serious About the Electric Jeep Wrangler Doing Autonomous Off-Road Driving?

Jeep has spent the majority of the life of the brand stuck in the 1940s. Until a few years ago, the Jeep Wrangler really hadn’t changed in many significant ways from the early days of the Willys or CJ model Jeeps. The doors just popped off, manual transmissions remained prominent, and hell, even the windshield could fold down. Now, the Jeep Wrangler is promising all-electric power with the Jeep Wrangler Magneto, paired drones, and even autonomous off-road driving. 

All-electric Jeep Freedom ripping through an off-road trail
Jeep Freedom commercial | Jeep/Stellantis

Jeep is still one of the most iconic SUVs on the market. It remains a serious off-roader but has finally decided to jump from the stone age to the space age with this new 10-year vision trailer. 

Is the Jeep Wrangler really going full electric? 

As unlikely as it feels, they sure seem to be. The Wrangler has always been the big square that was underpowered, outdated, and nearly worthless outside the woods. However, suddenly, Jeep releases the hybrid Wrangler 4xe and promises a full-electric 4×4 shortly. Now, to step it up even further, Jeep is talking about drones, autonomous vehicles, and biometric scanners. What is this, Star Trek? 

Where is all this future technology love coming from? 

Jeep commercial for an autonomous Jeep Wrangler going off-road
Jeep Freedom commercial | Jeep/Stellantis

According to New Atlas, yesterday was “Stellantis EV Day 2021”, which would explain this futuristic Jeep commercial. This commercial shows a 10-year-plan for the Wrangler. Now, there is no reason to believe all of these insane features will actually be made, but the fact that Stellantis is even thinking this way for the Jeep brand is shocking and exciting. 

Whether or not Jeep Wranglers will ever actually get any of these fancy features almost doesn’t matter at this point. The point here is that Jeep and Stellantis are looking forward, for once. One of the more notable and realistic aspects of this commercial is the remote solar chargers for off-road EVs. Rivian is working on a similar project, and seeing Jeep join in the cause proves a known need here for electric off-roading in the future. 

Jeep is promising an electric future 

The 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe charging at a trailhead
2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe | Jep

Jeep has said that by 2025, its goal is to have 70 percent of its line be electric vehicles. This is a bold move but one that shows that same old Jeep bullishness that makes us love the Wrangler in the first place. 

Aside from just the full-electric models, Jeep is also pushing hard to implement the 4xe technology in more vehicles. The idea of silent open cockpit off-roading is like a dream come true to many outdoors enthusiasts. This sets the off-roading culture up to finally become a bit more harmonious with other outdoors enthusiasts. 

Ok, but what about autonomous off-road driving? 

This aspect of the commercial is probably the most shocking of all. The ad spot shows a couple climbing out of their electric Jeep Wrangler to hike, and the Jeep pulls away on its own. My first thought was, “ Oh, snap! They forgot to put their Jeep in gear, and it’s rolling off!” However, Jeep is saying that by 2030 they want Wranglers to drop off its owners at a trailhead and go on its own to the end of the trail to pick them up when the hike is over. 

This feels like Elon Musk levels of over-promising. General autonomous driving is one thing, but doing it on the ever-changing landscape of off-road trails in remote, unmapped places, feels a bit too sci-fi to get excited about. 

Jeep has big plans, and we are here for it

However unrealistic some of these futuristic promises may feel, we have to remain open and hopeful for a smarter and more sustainable automotive future. The off-road world is responsible for a lot of harm to our environment and should be the first to fix the damage we’ve caused. Jeep taking the lead on this is commendable and exciting. Here’s to hoping the Jeep Wrangler can save the same trails it’s always loved ripping up. 

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