Hybrids & Electrics

The Jeep Plug-In Hybrid Wrangler Is Real–Will a Gladiator Hybrid Follow?

Jeep’s on a mission to improve its green credentials. The brand’s planning on going electric, for one. And the Wrangler now has a diesel that will likely come to the Gladiator. But the Wrangler isn’t done with efficiency improvements quite yet. We’ve known about plug-in hybrid Jeep SUVs for some time—FCA has been retooling its factories to prepare—but up until now, the only plug-in hybrid Wranglers spotted have been test mules. But at this year’s CES, Jeep will unveil plug-in hybrid versions of the Wrangler, Renegade, and Compass. And this could preview a plug-in hybrid Gladiator.

Details about the Jeep Renegade and Compass plug-in hybrids

Jeep plug-in hybrid 4xe badge
Jeep plug-in hybrid 4xe badge | FCA

The three Jeep plug-in hybrids being presented will start a line of Jeeps badged “4xe”, which Motor1 reports is pronounced “4-by-e”. Unlike the current mild-hybrid Wrangler, which uses an upgraded starter motor/generator to boost the gasoline engine, these Jeeps will be full-on hybrids.

The Jeep Renegade and Compass plug-in hybrids have actually been seen before, Motor Trend reported, at the Geneva Motor Show. Their 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines will be combined with two electric motors, one for the front wheels and one for the rear wheels, according to Hagerty. Combined, this resulted in 240 hp, reports The Drive, but Jeep did not reveal how much power or torque the powertrain would make in the US. However, Motor1 previously reported the Renegade and Compass plug-in hybrids could travel up to 31 miles on electric power alone.

What about the Jeep Wrangler plug-in hybrid?

Fewer details are known about the Jeep Wrangler plug-in hybrid. The Drive predicts the system will be similar to the one in the upcoming Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs. The mild-hybrid Wrangler already includes regenerative braking.

As of this writing, we can only report that the Wrangler plug-in hybrid will offer four-wheel drive, and Jeep is claiming “instant engine response” and “increased torque”. More details will emerge at the auto shows in New York, Beijing, and Shanghai.

Pricing and availability

While Jeep has revealed that the 4xe models will debut this year, no specific date has been given. Pricing, too, has not been revealed.

2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel | FCA
2020 Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel | FCA

At the moment, the cheapest diesel Wrangler starts at roughly $39k, a $6000 upcharge over the base 4-door Wrangler Sport. To get an eTorque Wrangler, however, requires stepping up to the Wrangler Sahara, which starts at $40,140. The four-cylinder eTorque system adds $2000 to that—because of the required 8-speed automatic—while the V6 is $1,250 more.

Is a Jeep Gladiator plug-in hybrid likely?

2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon
2020 Jeep Gladiator Rubicon | Jeep

At the moment, Jeep has only revealed plans to produce plug-in hybrid SUVs. While the Grand Wagoneer and Wagoneer haven’t been officially revealed, they will be available as plug-in hybrids, presumably with the same “4xe” badge. But only the Wrangler, Renegade, and Compass 4xe models will be shown at CES. However, a Gladiator plug-in hybrid isn’t an impossibility.

The Gladiator is produced at the same plant in Toledo as the Wrangler, where the hybrid powertrain components will also be assembled, according to The Drive. This system will allegedly be tucked underneath the Wrangler—and because the Gladiator and Wrangler have similar front ends, the system would realistically fit underneath the truck, too.

It’s also worth noting that the Wrangler 4xe test mules’ charging ports were located at the front of the SUV. This would make it easier and cheaper for the Gladiator to receive the same plug-in hybrid system.

Perhaps Jeep will reveal some more info at CES.

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