Plans for an electric Jeep Wrangler are still under wraps, but the off-load icon appears to be edging closer to a battery-powered model.
A senior Jeep executive believes electrification could even make for a better Wrangler – and the option is probably inevitable.
“I truly believe that if we do an electric Wrangler, sometime in the future, that would actually be a better Wrangler,” said Mark Allen, the Detroit-based design boss at Jeep, during a video conference with CarAdvice this week.
“It would be more capable off-road. It has the ability to do things that we can't do now,” he said.
“Are there definite plans for that? No, not at the moment. Is that on the horizon? I think probably, yes.”
Allen reiterated the company’s plans to offer electrification across its range by 2022, citing the recent unveiling of both the Jeep Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe plug-in hybrids.
“There is also a Wrangler PHEV that's imminent,” said Allen. “We've shown one at the [Consumer Electronics] Show here. Beyond that, I can't speak of future plans.”
While reluctant to discuss the possibility of an all-electric Jeep Wrangler in the future, Allen was frank about the capabilities such a platform would provide Jeep’s halo off-roader.
“If we do something like that, it shouldn't be a compliance play because to me, it doesn't really matter where the power comes from,” he said. “Just that it goes to all four wheels. That's what's important.”
Allen (pictured above) explained the advantages of an electric powertrain over a conventional internal combustion engine are huge, especially in an off-road environment, a core element of the Wrangler appeal.
“Well, I mean, the power is delivered now, to all four wheels,” he said. “There's a central power source, and then through mechanics, we spread that power to all four wheels.
“If we did an electric vehicle, you'd have the ability to control each wheel’s speed and direction individually. That's huge. That's a big deal for manoeuvrability and off-road traction. The possibilities open up for us rather than close down.”
The designer also believes hardcore Jeep fans would embrace an electric Wrangler because the core DNA of that particular model is in its abilities to tackle rugged and rough terrain. Improve that even further, via electrification, and the loyalists, he believes, will continue to stay true to the brand.
“It's about making a better Wrangler,” he said. “A more capable off-road vehicle. That could happen.”
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