Is Jeep Going To Kill the Wrangler?
At Jeep’s 4xe day, the brand committed to electric vehicles bing 50% of its sales by 2030. Then it unveiled a Wrangler-inspired new electric SUV named the Jeep Recon. But it did not reveal an all-electric Wrangler. Some Jeep fans worried Jeep plans to kill the Wrangler. But the company has committed to selling the Recon and Wrangler side-by-side. What’s more, multiple generations of Wrangler EV concept vehicles have debuted at Jeep’s Easter Safari.
The Jeep Recon is an all-electric SUV inspired by the Wrangler
Jeeps big 4xe day electric vehicle press conference included big announcements and several new models. The Wagoneer S and Jeep Recon are both electric 4×4 SUVs. They share Stellantis’ all-new STLA “Large” EV chassis.
While the new Wagoneer EV and Recon may be mechanically similar, they feature very different styles. Stellantis Chief Design Officer Ralph Gilles, admitted the Jeep Recon, “was absolutely inspired by the Wrangler” and called the models “Brothers.”
The family resemblance is most apparent in the Recon’s skid plates, tow hooks, removable doors, removable windows, and power retractable roof. The 4×4 EV promises renewable, open-air off-roading in complete silence.
The Jeep Recon is not replacing the Wrangler
The Jeep Recon and Jeep Wrangler are different in several key ways. The new Recon features unibody construction and independent front suspension. This will make it lighter and more nimble on the road than the Wrangler. But it may also be a nonstarter fan for Wrangler fans devoted to the full-frame and solid front axle construction of the more traditional 4×4.
And for now, the Jeep Recon is a full battery electric vehicle while every Wrangler features some form of internal combustion engine. Even the Wrangler Unlimited with Jeep’s 4xe drivetrain has an inline four-cylinder gasoline engine. And with Wrangler sales strong, it is obvious there is a market for this configuration.
Perhaps this is why Gilles called the Wrangler “The King of our portfolio of vehicles” and promised it “will always lead the charge.”
The Jeep Wrangler may have an electric future
So what does the future hold for the Jeep Wrangler? With its internal combustion drivetrain, solid axles, and full-frame construction, it will likely hold down the more traditional end of Jeep’s portfolio for years to come.
At 4xe day, the brand unveiled yet another trim level of the plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler 4xe. This SUV features an I4 engine, an electric motor, and batteries offering 22 miles of electric range. But it maintains the Wrangler’s full-frame construction and solid axles.
But as Stellantis goes fully electric, Jeep will need an electric Wrangler eventually. The company has already built two generations of an electric Jeep Wrangler concept SUV. The Magneto and Magneto 2.0 feature a unique axial-flux electric motor. In its latest configuration it can make 625 horsepower and 825 lb-ft of torque, but redlines at just 5,250 rpm.
Jeep’s solution to the Magneto’s low redline was installing a TREMEC six-speed manual transmission. This makes the Magneto a true, three-pedal manual electric vehicle. It also uses traditional full-frame Wrangler construction with solid axles and 40-inch tires. If future Wrangler EVs look anything like the Magneto, Jeep will be going electric on its own terms.
Next, read about how the iconic Jeep Wrangler is future-proof or see the electric Magneto in action for yourself in the video below: