Jeep Wrangler hybrid previewed in Las Vegas
Normally, new 4WD products are launched at international motor shows, but Jeep chose this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to preview the new Wrangler Rubicon 4xe plug-in hybrid (PHEV).
Although clearly plugged-in on the Jeep stand it was locked and there were no details provided about its petrol/electric powertrain. However, in the USA there’s already a Chrysler Pacifica PHEV that combines the proved 3.6-litre petrol Pentastar V6 with a 16kW lithium-ion battery and that’s our bet to power the Wrangler 4xe, especially as the V6 is already the standard engine in the Rubicon.
Two Jeep 4×4 hybrids have already been released – Renegade and Compass PHEVs – both powered by a 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine combined with an electric motor. Their mild-hybrid EV range is around 50 kilometres and it’s highly likely the Wrangler PHEV will have around the same battery life.
Jeep has promised details at March 2020’s Geneva Motor Show.
Interestingly, the Wrangler 4xe looks identical to the refreshed Wrangler range that’s on sale in Australia, other than for an electrical charging port at the base of the left front A-pillar. That high-up positioning seems to make more sense than the Range Rover Sport PHEV’s near-headlight port location that gets drowned during creek crossings.
Jeep has stated that it plans to have every model electrified to some extent by 2022 and it’s highly unlikely we’ll see the Wrangler 4xe PHREV much before then.
Jeep’s global boss, Mike Manley said that Jeep’s engineers have calibrated the petrol/electric package to balance the benefits of low-speed torque and highway fuel economy. There was also considerable input ensuring that the electrical components and wiring wasn’t compromised by water crossing dynamics.