UPDATE, 10 March 2021: Jeep has released another teaser image of its upcoming electric Wrangler concept car, ahead of its debut slated for between 27 March and 4 April, 2021.
With the new image's brighter lighting and different camera angle, it's now clear the battery-electric show car will be badged Magneto – a name trademarked by Jeep with US intellectual property officials in early February 2021.
Interestingly, despite the lack of a combustion engine, the latest teaser shows the Magneto will feature a prominent bonnet scoop, similar in size and shape to that of the V8-powered Wrangler Rubicon 392 unveiled in late 2020.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for more details on the Jeep Wrangler Magneto concept as its debut approaches.
9 February 2021: The iconic 2021 Jeep Wrangler four-wheel-drive looks set to go electric.
While details of the concept – tentatively dubbed 'Wrangler BEV' – remain thin on the ground, a shadowy image (top) published by the brand reveals it will feature a contemporary take on Jeep's iconic seven-slot grille, with a full-width LED light strip running through its upper sections and the headlights.
Mechanical details of the concept have yet to be confirmed, however it's highly likely to feature at least two electric motors for four-wheel-drive, with a four-motor setup – with one electric motor on each wheel – on the cards, as per rival off-road EVs like the GMC Hummer EV and Rivian R1S.
Jeep executives have floated the idea of a zero-emissions Wrangler in recent months and years, with chief designer Mark Allen telling CarAdvice in May 2020: "I truly believe that if we do an electric Wrangler, sometime in the future, that would actually be a better Wrangler. It would be more capable off-road. It has the ability to do things that we can't do now."
However, he stopped short of confirming such a pure-electric model at the time, adding "Are there definite plans for that? No, not at the moment. Is that on the horizon? I think probably, yes."
The unveiling of an electric Wrangler (albeit in concept form) will be the next step in the model's electrification journey, with the American brand having unveiled a plug-in hybrid 4xe variant for its home market, plus Europe and China, in late 2020.
The 4xe pairs a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with a pair of electric motors and a 17kWh lithium-ion battery under the second row to produce 280kW/637Nm. A 40km all-electric range is claimed.
However, while the plug-in hybrid variant has yet to be confirmed for Australia, it remains on the local arm's wishlist, with Jeep global director Christian Meuiner telling CarAdvice earlier in 2021: "I'd love to [bring the 4xe to Australia]. Not yet, but I'd love to, and I'm working on it."