Over the past couple of years, the Jeep® brand has stated that the future of the iconic SUV brand is the way of electrification. With vehicles like the Jeep Commander PHEV in the Chinese marketplace and the launch of the new 2020 Jeep Renegade and Compass 4xe models in Europe, the brand wasn’t kidding. But the next part of the electrification puzzle might be the biggest piece… the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe.
While Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) showcased the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe at the Consumer Electrics Show (also known as CES) in Las Vegas earlier this year, there wasn’t a lot explained about the future Jeep. Earlier this week, Head of Jeep Design, Mark Allen discussed his thoughts about the future of electrification for the off-road icon and again didn’t drop any hints about the upcoming model that we didn’t already know. But now, we are slowly learning more about the new Wrangler.
According to our sources, the new Wrangler Unlimited 4xe model will utilize the 2.0-liter turbocharged (GME-T4) inline-four-cylinder with the eTorque system, instead of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 like many people thought from the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. The system will be paired to a new ZF-sourced 8-speed plug-in hybrid automatic transmission, which is based on ZF’s current 8HP automatic transmission architecture that is a majority of the rear-drive FCA lineup.
The new 8-speed hybrid transmission doesn’t include the standard torque converter found on most transmissions but has an electric motor system instead. ZF states that the transmission can power a vehicle up to 31 miles (or 50 kilometers) or up to 74.5 mph (or 120 kph), depending on the size of the battery used in the vehicle. This could mean that the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe would meet a majority of owner’s daily driving needs without having to use gasoline. It also would put the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe in a similar electric performance territory as the other 4xe models.
We expect that the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with eTorque capability will act as a generator, similar to the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. The use of the 2.0-liter turbo motor, also explains FCA’s recent announcement of a $400 million investment to repurpose an idled transmission plant in Kokomo, Indiana, to build the GME-T4 engine for the Wrangler and Cherokee.
Jeep has also teased the new Wrangler Unlimited 4xe in a few recent commercials, launched in the past few weeks. This time a Billet Silver Wrangler Unlimited 4xe can be prominently shown, complete with blue tow-hooks, 4xe hood graphics, and blue-outlined Rubicon text on the sides of the hood. Other than those features, the Wrangler 4xe model, looks like a standard Rubicon model. We expect that the Wrangler 4xe powertrain will be offered across the Wrangler lineup and not just the Rubicon, similar to that of the other 4xe models in the European market.
The Wrangler 4xe will more than likely be available in only a four-door Unlimited configuration. This is due mainly in part for the added room in the chassis for the battery pack, which needs the extra length of the Unlimited model to accommodate the added electrical components.
We expect that the Jeep brand will officially announce this new vehicle soon, as prototypes have been spotted with camouflage across the Metro Detroit region. It is expected, that the new Wrangler Unlimited 4xe will launch in the North American marketplace first, then reach the European marketplace by mid-2021, and China in late-2021.
Stay tuned as we will continue to bring you more updates on the Wrangler Unlimited 4xe, as they become available.