Mark Allen Says Full Electric Wrangler EV Can Be Even More Capable Off-Road

JAY

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Jeep design boss, Mark Allen, recently spoke with CarAdvice about a potential Jeep Wrangler EV.


Jeep's design boss says an electric Jeep Wrangler could be just as capable off-road as today's model.

Plans for an electric Jeep Wrangler are still under wraps, but the off-load icon appears to be edging closer to a battery-powered model.

A senior Jeep executive believes electrification could even make for a better Wrangler – and the option is probably inevitable.

“I truly believe that if we do an electric Wrangler, sometime in the future, that would actually be a better Wrangler,” said Mark Allen, the Detroit-based design boss at Jeep, during a video conference with CarAdvice this week.

“It would be more capable off-road. It has the ability to do things that we can't do now,” he said.

“Are there definite plans for that? No, not at the moment. Is that on the horizon? I think probably, yes.”

Allen reiterated the company’s plans to offer electrification across its range by 2022, citing the recent unveiling of both the Jeep Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe plug-in hybrids.

“There is also a Wrangler PHEV that's imminent,” said Allen. “We've shown one at the [Consumer Electronics] Show here. Beyond that, I can't speak of future plans.”

While reluctant to discuss the possibility of an all-electric Jeep Wrangler in the future, Allen was frank about the capabilities such a platform would provide Jeep’s halo off-roader.

“If we do something like that, it shouldn't be a compliance play because to me, it doesn't really matter where the power comes from,” he said. “Just that it goes to all four wheels. That's what's important.”

Allen (pictured above) explained the advantages of an electric powertrain over a conventional internal combustion engine are huge, especially in an off-road environment, a core element of the Wrangler appeal.

“Well, I mean, the power is delivered now, to all four wheels,” he said. “There's a central power source, and then through mechanics, we spread that power to all four wheels.

“If we did an electric vehicle, you'd have the ability to control each wheel’s speed and direction individually. That's huge. That's a big deal for manoeuvrability and off-road traction. The possibilities open up for us rather than close down.”

The designer also believes hardcore Jeep fans would embrace an electric Wrangler because the core DNA of that particular model is in its abilities to tackle rugged and rough terrain. Improve that even further, via electrification, and the loyalists, he believes, will continue to stay true to the brand.

“It's about making a better Wrangler,” he said. “A more capable off-road vehicle. That could happen.”

 

Raylan Givens

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If they can get battery price down and increase range a Jeep with each wheel independently powered would be great. We'll soon see the Hummer EV, but I expect it to be $80k+
 

pablo_max3045

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I think it's clear to anyone who understands the tech, that an electric Wrangler would be far superior to an ICE version in terms of off road ability.
If you don't believe it, you simply don't understand the tech.
However, it's still not "better" than ICE for a Wrangler unless you are just doing a weekend trip.
Not unless they can get the battery numbers up to like 600 miles. "As good as" ICE range is not enough. I can always bring more gas... bringing more electrons? Not so much.
 
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four low

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I think it's clear to anyone who understands the tech, that an electric Wrangler would be far superior to an ICE version in terms of off road ability.
If you don't believe it, you simply don't understand the tech.
However, it's still not "better" than ICE for a Wrangler unless you are just doing a weekend trip.
Not unless they can get the battery numbers up to like 600 miles. As good as ICE range is not enough. I can always more gas... more electrons? Not so much.
GM has a " Million Mile " battery, with a range of 600 miles. The "Million" refers to battery life, recharging cycles
 


jessedacri

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GM has a " Million Mile " battery, with a range of 600 miles. The "Million" refers to battery life, recharging cycles
The longevity and range issues arise though when you're trying to propel a 4,500 pound object with the aerodynamics of a billboard. Every high-range EV is ridiculously aerodynamic, it takes a figurative truckload more energy to move and sustain speed in a Wrangler than it does any model Tesla or other purpose built EV. We're getting there but I don't think we quite are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with battery technology.

Unless they compromise the design and make an aerodynamic Wrangler (IMO, they shouldn't) we're kinda stuck until the next leap in battery tech. I'm curious to see what they come up with.
 

Gee-pah

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Dear Mr. Allen:

I'll write this as if the OP was yours and not the adminstrator's.

Much you have to say makes sense. That which I have issue with includes the following:

* The capability off road: no doubt. Torque applied to all four wheels independently by electric is bound to make for a better off road traction experience than with an ICE power plant. Just make sure that the on road experience doesn't suffer in the sense that charging stations aren't yet everywhere, most people do their driving there, and vehicle range on a charge is important.

* The notion that such a design wouldn't be a compliance play--that may not be what you want to present as your highest priority intention--off road performance taking precedence, but let's not kid ourselves sir, to say compliance would not bear into the decision is just silly. Like it or not, compliance keeps you under EPA radar for penalties you'll be forced to share with the consumer that will hugely inflate purchase price. Cudos to you to turn the need to electrify faced by all vehicle manufacturers into a unique benefit that can accrue to your brand's off road market position, but I have to doubt you'd be making this electric play purely for off road performance were the EPA not on your tail.
 

madscientist

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Limited range is a serious drawback for an off-road vehicle. An e-Jeep is aimed at a 100% suburban mall-crawler market. I don't see anyone buying one if they are doing an African safari or South American jungle trip. Even Alaska and Canada would pose insurmountable problems.
 

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Sounds wonderful. But the devil is in the details.

FCA can’t even build an auxiliary battery that works consistently.
 

CptFloridaMan

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1.5 years in, my 48v eTorque battery is already having some longevity issues..
As an etorque owner, what sort of longevity issues? I'm coming up on a year/14k miles.
 


mcjeff

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I have a Tesla M3 and I'm buying a Wrangler because, while close, the electric infrastructure just isn't there. When I bought the Tesla, I was on the fence and I've regretted not going with the ICE Wrangler quite a bit.

It makes a *great* daily driver, but anything longer than 40% of the max range needs to be planned around Superchargers. Unless FCA has a fix for that, I wouldn't even consider it. I won't really road trip in the Tesla because full charger stalls mean 30m waits or so for one to empty and the chargers are often out of the way. Modification hurts range as well. I put a roof rack on mine and I have the larger tires, so I see a bit of a hit as compared to people that hyper-mile.

That said, that instant torque on a Jeep would be ridiculous.

There are benefits. For example, always having a full tank of electrons in the AM and having next to zero maintenance. That all sounds like "daily driver", though. I'd be too uncomfortable to take it exploring, especially considering that if it busted, only four people in the country know how to fix it.
 

Dkretden

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An all-electric wrangler would be TERRIFIC. All it needs to do is get me the 400 miles to the trailhead in the same amount of time I can get there in an ICE vehicle and then get me a day’s worth of off-roading and then get me the 50 miles to the hotel where I can get access to a charging point while I sleep.

figure all that out and it will be a terrific vehicle. Until then..... pass.

oh, and while and all-electric Jeep will be great for SOME off-roaders, it will suck for overlanders unless Jeep intends to build charging points in the wilderness.
 

Arterius2

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As an etorque owner, what sort of longevity issues? I'm coming up on a year/14k miles.
My auto-start-stop durations have been shortening. Now I can’t even sit through a normal traffic light without turning itself on midway. My AC and heating are always off.
 

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Give me 500 mile range and charging times under ten minutes and I'd be happy, but we're not there yet. The main reason I bought a Wrangler is for back country camping in places where few other vehicles will go. EVs just don't yet have the range or low enough charging time to be practical for road trips .
 

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I too have a Tesla model 3 in addition to my JLUR. A powerful electric drivetrain would be awesome in a Jeep ...way superior to any ICE set up. Tesla is promising new battery technology that will be denser and even more long lasting. I agree with another poster on this forum that range and charging options are not yet sufficient for an off-road application or long distant travel in remote areas...but it will improve within the next 5 or 6 years. Who knows... Trchnology is quickly evolving.

 

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