American SUV marque, Jeep, has officially unveiled the plug-in hybrid version of its iconic off-road SUV, Wrangler. It will be called the Jeep Wrangler 4xe and it joins the fast-growing list of electrified cars from the company, which currently includes Jeep Grand Commander PHEV, Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe models. The Jeep Wrangler 4xe's plug-in hybrid powertrain offers a range of over 40 km of nearly silent, zero-emission, electric-only propulsion, making it commuter-friendly as an all-electric daily driver while being a capable and eco-friendly off-road SUV too.
While the design is identical to the regular ICE-powered Wrangler, Jeep has tried to flaunt the SUV's hybrid nature with some styling elements like blue exterior accents and a blue stripe on the hood with the 4xe lettering. In fact, the logos and a badging also get a blue tint, be it the large Rubicon lettering, the Jeep badging or the Trail Rated insignia. The wheels also come with a tiny blue stamp of a Willys Jeep. Like the regular Wrangler, you get the option for an open-top and hard top version along with other customisations.
Under the hood, the Wrangler 4xe comes with a 2.0-litre turbocharged I-4 engine that is paired with two electric motors and a 400-volt, 17-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that is placed under the second row of seats. The powertrain offers a combined output of 375 bhp and 637 Nm of peak torque and comes mated to a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. A high-voltage, liquid-cooled motor generator unit mounts at the front of the engine, replacing the conventional alternator, which is connected to the engine crankshaft pulley via a belt. Also, instead of a 12-volt starter motor, the Wrangler 4xe is equipped with a 12-volt battery to run accessories.
The powertrain also offers three drive modes: Hybrid, Electric, and eSave. In hybrid mode, the powertrain will use battery power first, then add in propulsion from the 2.0-litre engine when the battery reaches the minimum state of charge. In electric mode, the powertrain operates on zero-emission electric power only until the battery reaches the minimum charge or the driver requests more torque (such as wide-open throttle), which engages the 2.0-litre engine. Finally, in the eSave mode, the system prioritises propulsion from the 2.0-litre engine, saving the battery charge for later use, such as EV off-roading or urban areas where internal combustion propulsion is restricted. The driver can also choose between Battery Save and Battery Charge during eSave via the Hybrid Electric Pages in the Uconnect monitor.
The new Jeep Wrangler 4xe is available in three models: 4xe, Sahara 4xe and Rubicon 4xe. Wrangler 4xe and Wrangler Sahara 4xe models are equipped with full-time 4x4 systems, front and rear next-generation Dana 44 axles and are fitted with the Selec-Trac two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio. Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe models carry the Rock-Trac 4x4 system that includes a two-speed transfer case with a 4:1 low-range gear ratio, full-time 4x4, front and rear next-generation Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lok electric front- and rear-axle lockers.
The Jeep Wrangler 4xe will be sold globally, with electric vehicle (EV) charge port plugs tailored to specific regions. It is assembled at FCA's Toledo Assembly Complex in Toledo, Ohio. Jeep Wrangler 4xe models will be available in Europe, China and the United States by early 2021.