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Jeep reveals all-electric Wrangler Magneto

Australia waits as all-electric Magneto shows off Jeep’s plans for the Wrangler 4x4

23 Mar 2021

TRUE to its word, Jeep has debuted an all-electric Wrangler concept at this year’s Easter Safari, and while the Magneto is only a concept for now, the chances of it going into production are high as the brand strives to become the world’s greenest SUV maker.


Less likely, however, is the Magneto’s introduction to these shores for the foreseeable future – provided the concept reaches production – as Jeep’s global president Christian Meunier has in recent months publicly lamented the ongoing lack of government support for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in Australia.


Following on from its initial tease early last month, the Magneto looks exactly how an electric Wrangler might be imagined; the same as combustion-powered models but identified as an EV by blue exterior and interior highlights plus some unique ‘4xe’ decals.


The Magneto concept is adorned in ‘Bright White’ paint with ‘Surf Blue’ used for the roll cage, decal outlines, interior trim and floors.


Based on a two-door Wrangler Rubicon, the Magneto features unique black 17-inch metallic wheels wrapped in 35-inch Falken mud-terrain tyres and an exclusive full-width light signature.


The bonnet scoop first seen on the Rubicon 392 also makes an appearance, although in this case there is less need for it to be functional given the electric powertrain that consists of a custom-built axial flux electric motor paired to a traditional six-speed manual transmission that can operate at up to 6000rpm.


Developing up to 213kW of power and 370Nm of torque, the new system comfortably exceeds outputs of the existing 3.6-litre ‘Pentastar’ V6 petrol engine (209kW/347Nm), although it doesn’t come close to the 350kW/637Nm of the V8-powered Rubicon 392.


While far from being performance model, the Magneto still claims a respectable 0-97km/h (60mph) time of 6.8 seconds.


Jeep is yet to announce an effective range for the Magneto but it has confirmed the green off-roader relies on four separate battery packs to power the electric motor, amounting to a combined 70kWh.


The packs themselves are stashed evenly throughout the car to maintain its weight distribution, with one replacing the traditional fuel tank, one mounted on the opposite side, another directly under the bonnet and the fourth found in what was the rear cargo compartment.


Battery packs in the Magneto exist solely to provide power to the drivetrain, while other systems such as infotainment, lights and auxiliary powered accessories are catered for by a pair of traditional 12V batteries that are maintained by an inbuilt DC-to-DC converter.


A 10kW high-voltage heater is also fitted to ensure occupants stay warm in the “fully open-air” cabin.


In keeping with the traditional Jeep trait of being capable off-road, all of the batteries are housed in waterproof enclosures to maintain the Wrangler’s 762mm wading depth.


Other advanced off-road features include an integrated front winch, a JPP two-inch lift kit, Mopar rock rails and a steel belly pan.


According to Jeep North America vice-president Jim Morrison, the Easter Jeep Safari has long been used as a testing ground for both new model and showcasing new concepts, parts and ideas.


“This year’s Safari shines a spotlight on what makes Jeep vehicles unmistakably distinctive and undeniably capable—a variety of powertrains that deliver superior power, performance, torque and, above all, fun,” he said.


Given it forms a crucial part of the Jeep’s ‘Road Ahead’ electrification strategy – being its first full EV – an announcement confirming the Wrangler Magneto’s production is expected to be made by the end of the year.


After all, it took only four months for the Rubicon 392’s production to be confirmed following its concept reveal.

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