Jeep just unveiled its first fully electric vehicles. The Jeep Recon may look a lot like the existing Wrangler, but the two SUVs will be sold side-by-side. This makes sense because, though they look similar, they are different in three critical ways.
The Jeep Recon is fully electric
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The first difference between the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Recon may seem like the most obvious: the Wrangler is only available with an internal combustion engine. Even the plug-in Jeep Wrangler 4xe hybrid SUV features an I4 as well as an electric motor.
The 2024 Jeep Recon, on the other hand, is a fully battery electric vehicle. It will therefore, get all of its power from electric motors. If Jeep offers any Recons with an internal combustion engine, this will simply be in the form of a generator called a range extender. Stellantis has already teased this technology for its Ram truck brand, so it is possible it will also offer a Recon with a range extender.
The Recon is one of four fully electric vehicles Jeep plans to introduce by 2025. Jeep announced that its new Recon will be available globally, while the smaller Jeep Avenger will be an electric SUV only available in Europe.
The Jeep Recon is a unibody SUV
One of the defining characteristics of the Jeep Wrangler is its body-on-frame construction. This traditional construction method is prized by Jeep fans because it supposedly makes Jeep SUVs sturdier and stiffer on the trail. In addition, a full-frame vehicle is simpler to modify and in the case of extreme rust it can be salvaged with a full frame-swap.
At the same time, full-frame vehicles are often heavier and more expensive to build. Therefore, the Wrangler is one of the few mid-size SUVs still available with full-frame architecture.
The Jeep Recon will ride on Stellantis’ new global chassis named the “STLA Large” platform. It will share this chassis with the brand’s American muscle cars and other 4x4s. Stellantis will continue building full-frame vehicles, such as Ram trucks, on its “STLA Frame” platform, but the Jeep Recon will not be one of them.
The Jeep Recon features independent suspension
Another defining characteristic of the Jeep Wrangler is its solid axles. While the Wrangler has some competitors with full-frame architecture, there are no other mid-size SUVs from Detroit with solid front and rear axles.
Like full-frame architecture, this is a more traditional way of assembling a vehicle, and a holdover from the Wrangler’s WWII roots. Some Jeep fans insist that solid axles are sturdier, simpler to work on, and give them an edge while navigating off-road trails. This off-roading advantage comes from the way the solid axle navigates obstacles: if one wheel drives up over an obstacle, it forces the opposite wheel down towards the trail and increases traction.
But like full-frame construction, solid axles are heavy and expensive. There is certainly a market for unibody SUVs with independent suspension, such as the Recon.
Jeep’s choice to build the Recon may actually signal its commitment to the Wrangler. The brand vows to sell the two SUVs side-by-side. Therefore, if the Wrangler does eventually go electric it will likely retain its unique full-frame construction and solid axle layout. Which electric Jeep will SUV buyers prefer? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Next, see the latest electric Jeep Wrangler concept vehicles or watch the reveal of the Jeep Recon in the video below: