The Jeep Wrangler Plug-In Hybrid Is Really Happening

March 25th, 2019 by

 

All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Sahara

Plans for the Jeep Wrangler Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) have been confirmed for early 2020. Although it was rumored back in 2017, Jeep announced in August of 2018 that the 54-year old Toledo Machining Plant in Ohio will produce the plug-in’s Power Electronic module. It will also install the applicable software, and conduct the final testing before units are exported off to the Toledo Assembly Plant and that’s where the Wrangler plug-in will be built.  

The Power Electronics module is made up of the Power Inverter module and the Integrated Dual Charger module. It includes both an onboard charger and a DC/DC converter. Jeep is set to mount the module in a protective structure under the SUV between the exhaust and drive shaft.   

The electric motor will provide additional power. Like most plug-in vehicles, it will improve fuel economy, and it should offer a short all-electric driving range as well. There has been no mention of what gas engine will be used, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if it were the same as the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, which is a 3.6-Liter V-6 engine.  

The only option available for Wranglers is the 2.0-Liter turbo-four which uses the automaker’s eTorque mild-hybrid system. It delivers an EPA-rated 22/24 mpg city/highway in the four-door Unlimited model, and 23/25 mpg in the two-door configuration -an improvement over the 3.6-Liter V-6 and eight-speed automatic combo that delivers 18/23 mpg for both models.

The Wrangler plug-in is expected to make its debut in 2020. It’s part of the FCA’s commitment to have 30 models with electrified powertrains by 2022. The only other FCA plug-in vehicle is the Pacifica Hybrid which is rated at 32/33 mpg with a 33-mile all-electric driving range.

In the available images on the internet, the only noticeable changes, that have enthusiasts most excited is the wrap that runs across the Wranglers hood and down each of its side. A small bulge resides on either side where the hood meets the fenders, which is where the plug-in port may be located, most likely on the driver’s side. Another rumor is that the Wrangler can travel up to approximately 25 mph in EV mode for three or four miles before the internal combustion engine is fired up to assist with motivation.  

Customers near Fort Myers might be scratching their head at the unlikely candidate of the Wrangler getting the PHEV treatment, but its lackluster fuel economy numbers and their effect on the maker’s corporate average fuel economy numbers make it an ideal contender. It might seem that the apparent performance benefit is the availability of torque from zero rpm, Jeep brand marketing director Scott Tallon told caranddriver.com earlier that taking the Wrangler the PHEV route would be an efficiency play. Tallon believes it could provide other benefits as well.

“It will allow us to leverage the technology in a completely different way.” Tallon means that Jeep hybrid could employ a two-directional system of sorts. It can allow it to be used as a power supply for camping or in a cabin or as a power supply in case of an emergency.   

Adventurers everywhere would be able to appreciate the idea of having a significant power source in the backcountry that will be able to recharge its batteries as often as it’s needed via its attendant gasoline engine. One of the benefits is not having the difficulty of transporting a stand-alone generator and the fuel to power it. Building an entirely new PHEV system for the Wrangler will be expensive, so Jeep will utilize some of the core components of the Pacifica Hybrid to reduce initial outlay.

Tallon said the components would be reconfigured for the Wrangler’s particular purpose. The Wrangler will most likely have different driving modes and software calibration tailored to activities like low-speed off-road travel. Tallon also said that the PHEV Wrangler would retain its rugged ethos and be able to go up to 30 inches of water just like the standard Wrangler.

The four plug-in hybrids that FCA is working on include the new Grand Cherokee; the plug-in hybrid Wrangler, the plug-in Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer which are all supposed to debut by 2020. FCA also produces a plug-in hybrid version of the Renegade. It is also planning an electric version of its Chinese Jeep Grand Commander.

If you’re interested in test-driving Jeep Wrangler model, make sure to check them out at the Cape Coral Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM dealership.

Photo Credit: JL Wrangler Forums

 

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