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Jeep unplugs a concept EV

Free charging stations to open on off-road tracks as Jeep embraces electrification

5 Apr 2021

JEEP’S recent Easter Safari has centred around electrified powertrains with the company planning charging stations at the trail heads of selected US off-road tracks.


The brand said it will create the Jeep 4xe Charging Network over the next 12 months to complement its roll-out of plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models under the 4xe label, one of which – the Grand Cherokee PHEV – is expected for sale in Australia early next year, replacing the diesel version.


The announcement was timed to launch the Wrangler 4xe PHEV in the US. The 4xe label uses a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine and two electric motors for a claimed 280kW/637Nm.


It will be fitted to the Grand Cherokee – confirmed for Australia – and the Wrangler and Gladiator, which are not yet confirmed for local release.


The powertrain has a claimed 4.8 litres per 100km (equivalent) economy and a 34km electric range. This range is the same length as Jeep’s longstanding test route, the Rubicon Trail.


Charging stations – which are free for 4xe owners – are planned at off-road tracks in Moab, Utah; the Rubicon Trail in Pollock Pines, California; and Big Bear, California which is in line with Jeep’s promise of electrification and confirmed by theunveiling of a Wrangler EV “Magneto” concept.


Jeep said that additional charging stations are planned in other “Jeep Badge of Honor” trail locations in the US by the end of this year.


It said that the stations will be either directly connected to the power grid or use solar power to generate electricity. The charger delivers 240-volt power and fully recharges the Wrangler 4xe’s 17kWh battery in about two hours.


Jeep brand chief executive officer Christian Meunier said owners “can enjoy the benefits of electric propulsion wherever they go, including the most iconic off-road trails in the country.”


Jeep has partnered with public charging network Electrify America to establish the stations.


Jeep 4xe owners will be able to log in to unlock free charging via a custom mobile app by Electrify America, which also allows drivers to initiate and monitor their charging session.


The unveiling of the all-electric Magneto in Utah follows Jeep’s tradition of making some concepts to whet the appetite of its enthusiastic owners.


The Magneto is based on the 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, but it has a single electric motor replacing the petrol engine. Unusually, for an EV, it has a six-speed manual transmission.


The motor is rated at 130kW/372Nm and has an 800-volt system of four lithium-ion battery packs.


It was shown in bright-white paint with Surf Blue accents, a performance bonnet with centre scoop and custom decal, redesigned tailgate and full-width forward lighting.


Jeep fitted a JPP 2-inch lift kit, 17-inch Lights Out black metallic wheels with 35-inch mud-terrain tires, custom roll cage, Mopar Rock Rails, steel bumpers with a Warn winch and a steel belly pan.

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