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ELECTRIFYING: Meet The Jeep® Magneto Concept:

Two-Door Wrangler Rubicon, Meets All Electric-Vehicle Powertrain...

The 2021 Moab Easter Jeep® Safari is almost here, so this morning both the Jeep and Mopar brands showed off their new lineup of specialty-built concept vehicles for the annual event showcasing what both brands have to offer the Jeep community. The Moab Easter Jeep Safari is an annual event where Jeep enthusiasts from all over the world will gather from March 27th to April 4th in Moab for an extended holiday week of trail rides and technical off-roading on some of the most challenging and picturesque terrain.

2021 Jeep® Wrangler Magneto Concept. (Jeep).

With the Jeep and Mopar brands backing out of the event with the ongoing pandemic, we are seeing a couple of concept vehicles that were briefly shown off in press releases for the first time like the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392 Concept and the Jeep Gladiator Farout Concept. But Jeep and Mopar are showcasing four new concept vehicles that we haven’t seen before. Each one will be discussing throughout the week, but today we are going to talk about the Jeep Wrangler Magneto Concept.

Although it is wearing the Jeep brand’s electrified “4xe” badging, this is not the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe we have grown accustomed to over the past several months. The Jeep Wrangler Magneto Concept is a true two-door Wrangler, not like the four-door (Unlimited) only 4xe models. Instead of featuring a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) powertrain like the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe, the Magneto is a battery electric vehicle (BEV) that runs on entirely battery power.

2021 Jeep® Wrangler Magneto Concept. (Jeep).

Jeep engineers designed the Magneto Concept to be a stealthy, quiet, quick, and unmistakeable rock-crawling force on the trail. Both Jeep engineers and designers worked hard to create a zero-emission vehicle that maintains the Wrangler legendary 4×4 capability while providing new levels of efficiency, environmental responsibility, and performance both on and off-road.

Starting with a two-door 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon as its basis, the Magneto Concept uses a custom-built axial flux electric motor that operates up to 6,000 rpm. The e-motor is connected to a 6-speed manual transmission (that’s right, no automatic here), creating a unique manual-electric powertrain with a clutch that operates as it would with an internal combustion engine (ICE). In quick-shift scenarios, the e-motor engages regen upon clutch engagement to prevent rev-hang.

2021 Jeep® Wrangler Magneto Concept. (Jeep).

The compact e-motor is tuned to deliver up to 285 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque. Those numbers are consistent with the Wrangler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which produces 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Intentional calibrations developed during testing help Magneto’s powertrain emulate the driving experience of the Pentastar. During moderate driving, the performance between the Pentastar and the e-motor/manual powertrain is “negligible” as Jeep says, except for near-silent operation.
 
The Magneto Concept is able to run a 0 to 60 mph time in just 6.8-seconds, thanks to the instant 273 lb.-ft. of torque on tap.
 
Providing power to Magneto’s e-motor are four battery packs with a combined power of 70 kWh, running an 800-volt system. For reference, the 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe runs just one 400-volt, 17-kWh, 96-cell lithium-ion, nickel manganese cobalt battery pack. Magneto’s lithium-ion batteries are distributed around the Wrangler to balance weight on the four wheels. One pack replaces the Wrangler’s mid-ship fuel tank, another is mounted opposite the fuel tank location, the third pack sits atop the e-motor under the hood, and the fourth pack mounts in the space normally used for a rear storage compartment, also using space typically occupied by the exhaust muffler.

2021 Jeep® Wrangler Magneto Concept Electrical Architecture. (Jeep).

An inverter derived from race cars converts DC power to AC for the high-tech motor. The batteries, a vehicle interface box, and the battery control module all reside in waterproof enclosures to maintain the Wrangler’s 30-inch water-traversing capability in order to keep its iconic “Trail Rated” badge.

A 12-volt battery powers existing systems, such as the radio and lighting, while a second 12-volt battery serves as an auxiliary power unit (APU) for accessories, such as the winch. A DC-to-DC converter charges both 12-volt batteries, allowing long-term operation of accessories to power a campsite or an unexpectedly long winch operation. Unique mounts secure the battery packs for harsh driving and custom skid plates protect the packs from potential strikes to the undercarriage while traversing harsh terrain. A 10-kW high-voltage heater keeps the fully open-air passenger compartment comfortable.

2021 Jeep® Wrangler Magneto Concept. (Jeep).

As for the exterior design elements, Magneto features a Bright White exterior color with Surf Blue accents (the same found on all 4xe models). The Magneto Concept is also equipped with the performance hood with a center scoop from the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 392 featuring a unique custom decal, redesigned rear gate, and dramatic full-width forward lighting located inside the signature seven-slot grille.
 
Inside, there are a set of custom Royal Blue and Black leather seats with Sapphire-colored inserts and straps, Surf Blue truck bed liner, and Mopar slush mats that give Magneto’s interior design an electrifying appearance.

2021 Jeep® Wrangler Magneto Concept. (Jeep).

Mopar also dug deep into their Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) parts bin and equipped the Magneto with a JPP 2-inch lift kit, 17-inch Lights Out black metallic wheels with 35-inch mud-terrain tires, custom roll cage, Mopar Rock Rails, steel bumpers with a Warn winch, and a steel belly pan for added off-road capability.
 
Jeep has not yet said if it will indeed produce the Wrangler Magneto. But with how production-ready this thing looks, we think Jeep is strong testing the Jeep enthusiasts fan base for feedback on this one. We can’t wait to get a better look at this important concept soon.

What do you think of the Jeep Magneto Concept? Leave your comments below, or in the MoparInsiders.com forums.

2021 Jeep® Wrangler Magneto Concept Image Gallery:

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Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only a Co-Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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Seems a lot of people are loving that this is a manual. I think it seems like an unnecessary step backward, so hopefully the production model will be automatic-only. There's literally no need for a manual transmission in an electric car. Electric cars are the future, manual transmissions are not. That pairing should not be made.

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My guesses on the Magneto's drivetrain were dead wrong. I was thinking about two different supplier offerings which have been recently announced. The first one is the Magna eBeam electric drive axle.

I first thought of a Wrangler with electrically driven axles front and rear. (BTW, the eBeam is what many suspect the battery electric Ford F-150 will use.) According to Magna's press release, "To support electric four-wheel drive, Magna also offers several complete powertrain solutions incorporating an electric drive system at the front of the truck, including advanced software and controls for seamless integration." The bench racer in me imagines a single motor front axle and Magna's "Twin motor, single speed including torque vectoring" axle at the rear.

My second guess was something from the Jeep and Ram Truck supplier ZF, who will be providing the hybrid transmission for the Wrangler 4Xe plugin hybrid. ZF offers an electric drive for HD trucks called the CeTrax. Lately, ZF has been testing a smaller version of this technology, the CeTrax Lite. According to ZF:

Electric Central Drive for Light Commercial Vehicles (in development)

CeTrax lite is ZF’s compact and lightweight drive system for minibuses, vans and light trucks. Electronic control unit and inverter are fully integrated. When it comes to the electrical components, ZF relies on scalable solutions from the passenger car sector and validates them for commercial vehicles. CeTrax lite can be combined with standard axles and common ratios.

Advantages

  • 150 kilowatts peak perfomance
  • Light and compact
  • Inverter and electronic control unit fully integrated
  • Flexible integrable in existing vehicle platforms with conventional driveline layout

ZF states the full sized CeTrax has an " Electric motor with integrated, tried-and-tested planetary stage from ZF-EcoLife." The EcoLife is a six speed automatic transmission used in busses. Keep in mind the CeTrax is for HD vehicles, so using a planetary gearset from that transmission shouldn't be a surprise. I have no idea what "transmission", if any, a production CeTrax Lite will incorporate. I'm reasonably sure it won't be a manual transmission. ZF does make a EcoLite manual transmission for trucks, but they don't connect them to electric motors.

The things I like about the Magneto are the battery packaging and overall appearance. I don't think an EV needs a six speed manual transmission connected to a four speed transfer case. Of course the dissident in me would want an EV having a manual transmission with an easily removable motor and battery packs for a dystopian future. Then I could drop in a Hemi in the thing.:censored:

Back to reality, I think the ZF setup could be production feasible in a Jeep Wrangler BEV. If I was in the market for a vehicle and if something like that was available, I would seriously consider such a beast, but in something trimmed more in line to the Islander, not a bare bones rock crawler.

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Seems a lot of people are loving that this is a manual. I think it seems like an unnecessary step backward, so hopefully the production model will be automatic-only. There's literally no need for a manual transmission in an electric car. Electric cars are the future, manual transmissions are not. That pairing should not be made.

I have no idea if this is even production possible, but I think it's really cool to see a manual in a vehicle like this.

Automatics are great, but there's nothing like a manual for pure driving enjoyment IMO.

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