The latest film in the Jurassic Park franchise, Jurassic World: Dominion, is something of a reunion, bringing back some of our favorite characters from previous installments, alongside more recent additions from the Jurassic World line. Imagine Chris Pratt and Jeff Goldblum sharing screen time with the biggest and baddest predators known to man! (Spoiler alert: it’s not a T-Rex!) Of course, Jeep reprises his role in the Jurassic Park universe, but he’s back with a twist.
The film features the Jeep Wrangler 4xe (4-by-E) plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Yes, you read that right. This is Jeep’s very first PHEV. And while the Wrangler 4xe only accounts for about 15% of Jeep Wrangler sales, Jeep even claims it was the best-selling plug-in hybrid in North America for a while in 2021, beating out the Toyota Prius.
All of this should give you enough reason to believe that hybrid Jeeps aren’t going anywhere, whether you like it or not. In fact, Stellantis, Jeep’s parent company, has big plans for Jeep, and many of them are electrified. How 70% of all Jeeps by 2025 will have an electrified powertrain option?
The Wrangler 4xe runs completely silent, up to 25 miles
As Jeep’s new Jurassic World-themed ad for the Wrangler 4xe says, it’s quiet enough not to wake a sleeping Velociraptor tucked away in the cargo hold. That’s because this hybrid Jeep can run on pure electricity alone, up to 25 miles in fact, when the 17.3kWh battery is fully charged. What’s the best way to use it, but remember the Wrangler 4xe also boasts regenerative via braking and a motor-generator.
Before we understand how it all works, let’s dive into the technical details. The Wrangler 4xe uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, with two electric motors. One of these electric motors, a 33kW unit producing a grand 44hp, is attached to the motor, and also functions as a sort of motor-generator driven by the motor to generate electricity which feeds back into the battery, or to supplement engine power. The other, a bigger 100kW motor capable of 134bhp and housed in the transmission case, really does all the heavy lifting. Combined, we’re talking a total of 380 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque, good for a 0-60 mph time of 6.4 sec. Or more than fast enough to outrun a charging T-Rex, if the situation called for it.
Importantly, the Wrangler 4xe can run on any of its three drive modes, including pure electric mode, when its transfer case is shifted to 4Lo. Instant torque and quiet operation should make any electrified Jeep even more of a force to be reckoned with off-road. Imagine all the dinosaurs (or other animals in their native land) that you could approach without disturbing them?
Jeep sells the Renegade and Compass plug-in hybrids in some international markets, and even claims they’re the best-selling PHEVs in Italy, of all places. It also offers the Grand Cherokee 4xe in its home market here in the United States. The hybrid Jeep is proving very practical for the brand, helping to erase some of its gas-guzzling image, while attracting new customers to the brand attracted by Jeep’s rugged looks and new green credentials.
The first electric jeep is coming in 2023
More big news. Jeep has pledged that 40% of its global sales will come from battery electric vehicles by 2030. That’s a huge shift. And we’ll soon start seeing the first of those 100 planned EV launches. Like very soon. The first is coming next year, and it will be a smaller Jeep, perhaps between the size of a Renegade and a Compass.
The first all-electric Wrangler is expected in 2024. The Jeep Magneto concept is a good sign of things to come on that front, with four frame-mounted batteries and a unique 6-speed manual transmission linked to its 285-hp electric powertrain. Expect the production model to be more mainstream, though, with dual electric motors for all-wheel drive and a more typical single-speed gearbox. Although it’s possible that Jeep has a two-speed gearbox, one serving as a reduction gear, much like the Porsche Taycan or Audi e-tron GT with their “launch” gear and plus second gear high.
Jeep also said that when you get to the Cherokee segment and above, electrification will soon become a must. Simply because of the added efficiency. In the grand scheme of things, plug-in hybrids and hybrids are a bridge to going electric. And in the future that Jeep imagines, by 2030, you’ll most likely be plugging mud into a purely electric Jeep.
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