The Jeep® brand has made it no secret that it plans to offer an electrified variant of each of the brand’s models by 2024. Jeep recently released its long-awaited plug-in hybrid (PHEV) 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe in the second quarter, bringing the 4xe badge that has been a huge success across Europe with its Renegade and Compass models to the North American market for the first time.
In an interview with the Australian automotive news website GoAuto.com.au in January, Global President for the Jeep Brand, Christian Meunier confirmed that the Jeep team was working on an electrified Gladiator 4xe. While the Jeep brand is known for its “Easter eggs”, earlier today, Jeep posted a new header photo to the brand’s Facebook page hinting that the Gladiator 4xe might be coming faster than we expected.
The picture posted showed what looked to be a Wrangler Unlimited 4xe interior, however, there were several differences to the models that have been flying off dealer lots recently. Gladiator fans were quick to point out the driver-side mirror of the low-resolution picture, showing a sharply-angled roll bar similar to those found on the Gladiator and unlike the slanted roll bar of the Wrangler Unlimited models.
Some fans also pointed out that the seat belts were of those found on the Gladiator which is also shared with the two-door Wrangler model and not the four-door Unlimited model on which the 4xe offering is based. Looking closely at the photo, you can also point out the Gladiator’s bed light button, something not available on the Wrangler models.
We were quick to notice the addition of the “4xe” text on the passenger-side instrument panel grab handle, which we have yet to see on the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe.
It’s safe to say that the Gladiator 4xe would share the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe powertrain. It starts with the popular 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four-cylinder that features an engine-mounted generator unit. A new ZF-sourced 8P75PH 8-speed automatic transmission incorporates a transmission-mounted motor-generator unit integrated to the bottom of the transmission itself. A 400-volt, 17-kWh, 96-cell lithium-ion, nickel manganese cobalt battery pack allows the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe to store enough power for up to 25 miles of pure electric operation for daily commutes.
The Wrangler Unlimited 4xe’s powertrain delivers a combined 375 horsepower (280 kW), 470 lb.-ft. (637 N•m) of torque while delivering an estimated 50 MPGe.
The Wrangler Unlimited 4xe hybrid system includes an Integrated Dual Charging Module (ICDM), which combines a battery charger and a DC/DC converter in a single unit that is more compact than two separate components, and a next-generation Power Inverter Module (PIM) that is reduced in size. These components are housed and protected from damage in a steel structure mounted below the battery pack.
The 4xe powertrain would be a welcome addition to the Gladiator lineup, as many have complained about the vehicle’s performance from the very start.
So is Jeep getting ready to make an announcement? Or is it purely a coincidence that such a picture was posted where it’s 6.2 million fans can see it on Facebook? Let us know below or in the MoparInsiders forums.