Jeep has made clear its plans to accelerate its rollout of hybrid and electric vehicles over the next decade – but the end for V8 engines and diesel fuel in Jeep vehicles might not be as far away as initially anticipated.
Speaking to Australian and Asian media earlier this week, Jeep brand CEO Christian Meunier discussed how the onset of hybrid and all-electric technology could spell the end for diesel fuel by the end of the decade globally – with the V8 petrol engine potentially slated to follow a similar timeline.
When asked about the future of diesel engines, Meunier said: "I think that diesel in Europe is going to disappear, and Europe was really the root of diesel engines. And [as a result of] this it’s very clear that diesel [sales] volume is going to reduce significantly.
"But does that mean we will stop [offering] diesel [engines] all at once? No, I think there will be a transition between now and 2030, and it will vary by market. Some markets will continue to have V8 engines, [some] will continue to have six-cylinder engines, [and some] will continue to have diesel.
Above: New Jeep Grand Cherokee L seven-seater.
While Meunier's comments don't explicitly apply the diesel engine's 2030 end date to petrol V8s, increasingly-stringent emissions regulations in the US and elsewhere will eventually force the end of the line for thirsty bent-eight engines – and the growth of Jeep's '4xe' plug-in hybrid and electric technology provides the perfect replacement.
By that deadline, it's the death of V8 engines that will hit the hardest for Australian Jeep buyers, with eight-cylinder engines available in the S-Limited, SRT and Trackhawk versions of the current Grand Cherokee SUV.
Diesel power, meanwhile, will only be offered in the compact Compass Trailhawk SUV from 2022 onwards, as the new-generation Grand Cherokee due in Australia starting later this year will drop 3.0-litre diesel V6 power in favour of petrol V6 and 4xe plug-in hybrid options only.
"I think in the very long term it’s pretty obvious, it will happen," said Meunier when asked if electrification will replace high-performance V8s in the brand's line-up, as seen in the Grand Cherokee SRT and US-market Wrangler 392.
"In the medium term it’s clear that we’ll want to protect the V8 ... [and] the high-performance V8 [for] as long as we can, especially in markets where there’s demand for it, and it makes sense to do [so]," he continued.
"At the same time it’s very clear that electrification gives us an opportunity to get even more performance, in a better way; [quicker] acceleration than an internal-combustion engine.
"So to answer the question bluntly, I love V8s, but I love electrification even more, because it can give me more acceleration, more power, [and] more torque in a better package, without hurting the planet. So I think it’s a better solution longer term," Meunier said.
Above: Pre-facelift Jeep Compass Trailhawk. Bottom of story: New Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe plug-in hybrid.
Jeep has announced its goal for 70 per cent of its global sales by 2025 to be electrified, using mild-hybrid, 'self-charging' hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric power – though markets such as Australia will fall closer to 30 per cent of sales being electrified.
A slew of electric Jeep models are on the way – with every segment the brand operates in to be covered by an electric option by 2025 – plus an array of '4xe' plug-in hybrids.
The American brand isn't the only major SUV manufacturer to announce plans to ditch diesel, with British off-road rival Land Rover confirming in February it will phase out diesel engines from 2026, ahead of converting its entire line-up to electric power by 2036.
"We are lucky to have [electrification]. We embrace it, and on top of that you know a Jeep owner likes nature, they embrace nature, and to have a product that doesn’t hurt nature is quite great. To drive in silence in nature is awesome. It’s magic." concluded Meunier.
MORE: Everything Jeep