Jeep boosts PHEV lineup with Wrangler 4xe
Jeep has just revealed its latest plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) offering, the Wrangler 4xe. The new model is the first electrified version of the Wrangler off-road SUV, and joins the Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe models in the brand’s global EV lineup.
The Jeep Wrangler 4xe powertrain consists of a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder gas engine and high-voltage electric motor, the latter driven by a 400v 17kWh 96-cell lithium-ion battery pack mounted beneath the second-row seat to preserve interior space and ensure it’s well protected against the elements when the Wrangler has its top down.
The introduction of the electric powertrain required a slight redesign to the Wrangler’s interior, particularly the installation of a hinged second-row seat to permit easy access to the battery and charging equipment.
The new Wrangler delivers a combined output of 375hp and 637Nm of torque. Power is sent to a fully mechanical four-wheel-drive system via the brand’s signature TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain can propel the Wrangler to a maximum pure-electric range of 40kms, according to the American car maker.
Three drive modes allow Wrangler 4xe owners to select the level of overall assistance so they can match driving conditions and extend the range of the battery pack. The driver can select either Hybrid, Electric, or eSave via buttons mounted on the instrument panel at the left side of the steering wheel.
Here’s how each mode functions:
Hybrid: The default mode blends torque from the 2.0-liter engine and electric motor. In this mode, the powertrain will use battery power first, then add in propulsion from the 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 when the battery reaches minimum state of charge
Electric: 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-liter engine
eSave: Prioritizes propulsion from the 2.0-liter 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.
Speaking of the Uconnect monitor, the updated infotainment system from Jeep now allows drivers to monitor the battery’s charge level, and a new regenerative braking system feeds power back into the batteries when stopping when activated.
Given the Wrangler’s off-road reputation, all the nifty features described above will be for naught if the 4xe can’t match the combustion engine Wrangler’s all-terrain prowess. Fortunately, everything in the undercarriage checks out, including the expected two-speed 4:1 low-range gear ratio transfer case, full-time 4x4, front and rear next-generation Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lok electric front- and rear-axle lockers, and that ever-impressive crawl ratio of 77.2:1 that makes climbing over any obstacle a cinch.
The PHEV Wrangler even improves on some of the standard model’s capabilities, specifically with its 44-degree approach and 35.6-degree departure angle. Chunky 17-inch alloy rims wrapped in thick 33.-inch off-road tires allow the SUV a wading depth of 760mm deep.
Sale of the Jeep Wrangler 4xe is due to start in the US early 2021. Pricing, along with when the SUV will be available in other markets, is yet to be confirmed.
For comparison, the 2020 Jeep Wrangler model sold locally has a price range of PHP3.39 to PHP4.09 million.
Photo/s from FCA