The Jeep® brand has confirmed that will indeed offer a Gladiator pickup with an electrified powertrain. The iconic American brand has made it no secret about its plan to expand its plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology across the brand’s portfolio. But it wasn’t until the last couple of weeks, that Jeep has officially said anything about electrifying the Gladiator.
Christian Meunier, Global President of Jeep Brand recently sat down with Australian publication Go Auto, where he confirmed that an electrified Gladiator was “for sure” in the works. Meunier didn’t speak about the specifics of the vehicle nor its powertrain. But he did confirm the brand’s intentions in manufacturing such a vehicle.
It is expected that the “Gladiator 4xe” would be powered by the same electrified powertrain as the recently introduced Wrangler Unlimited 4xe. The Wrangler Unlimited 4xe powertrain integrates two electric motors and a 400-volt battery pack with the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, and a unique 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Gladiator 4xe would be the first application of Stellantis’ turbocharged 2.0-liter Global Medium Engine (GME) family. The 2.0-liter is a high-tech, direct-injection engine that uses a twin-scroll, low-inertia turbocharger mounted directly to the cylinder head, along with a dedicated cooling circuit for the turbocharger, intake air, and throttle body for exceptional responsiveness, performance, and fuel efficiency.
The Wrangler Unlimited 4xe also uses a high-voltage, liquid-cooled motor generator unit mounts at the front of the engine, replacing the conventional alternator. This system is also known as eTorque is available on vehicles like the Ram 1500 (DT) and Wrangler already. It uses a robust belt that connects the motor-generator to the engine crankshaft pulley. The motor-generator spins the engine for nearly seamless, fuel-saving, start-stop operation and generates electricity for the battery pack. The system uses a 12-volt battery to run the accessories when the engine has stopped.
The second high-voltage motor-generator is mounted at the front of the transmission case, replacing the conventional torque converter of an automatic transmission. Two clutches work to manage power and torque from the e-motor and engine. A binary clutch (on/off) is mounted between the engine and the motor. When this clutch is open there is no mechanical linkage between the engine and the e-motor, which enables it to propel the vehicle in electric-only mode. When the binary clutch is closed, torque from the 2.0-liter engine and the e-motor flow combine through the automatic transmission. A variable clutch mounted behind the e-motor manages engagement with the transmission to improve drivability and efficiency.
A 400-volt, 17-kWh, 96-cell lithium-ion battery pack uses nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) graphite chemistry. The pack and controls mount underneath the second-row seat in the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe, where it is protected from outside elements.
All high-voltage electronics, including the wiring between the battery pack and the electric motors, are sealed and waterproof. This allows the new Wrangler Unlimited 4xe to keep its “Trail Rated” capabilities and be capable of water fording up to 30 inches. We expect the Gladiator 4xe would have a similar rating.
The electrified Wrangler Unlimited 4xe powertrain is rating for a combined 375 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. It is rated for an estimated 50 MPGe while being capable of up to 25 miles of pure electric operation for daily commutes. Those numbers would make the Gladiator 4xe the most powerful version of the midsized pickup yet and the most fuel-efficient.
Currently, the Jeep Gladiator features two powertrain options, either a gasoline or a diesel option. Buyers can choose from the award-winning 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with Engine Stop/Start (ESS) delivering 285 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, which can be paired with either a 6-speed manual transmission as standard or a TorqueFlite 850RE 8-speed automatic transmission which is optional. For those looking for more stump-pulling power, new for 2021 is the addition of the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine with ESS. The third-generation EcoDiesel is rated at 260 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque and comes standard with a ZF-sourced 8HP75 8-speed automatic transmission.
We don’t expect to see an electrified version of the Gladiator until at least the 2023 model year. That would be right around the time that both the Gladiator and Wrangler are due for their mid-cycle-action (MCA) or mid-life update for the current generation of both offerings.
So what do you think of an electrified Gladiator 4xe model? Let us know in the comments below or in the MoparInsiders.com forums.