The new Jeep Wrangler will go a little hybrid. It's a necessary but sacra religious move for the oil-guzzling giant.
The new Jeep Wrangler will be partly electric - and for a brand that defines petrol-loving American culture, it is a huge move for the giant. Speaking to Auto Express about the new Wrangler, Jeep boss Mike Manley said: “It really does move everything the Wrangler stands for forward significantly.
The Jeep Switchback Concept from which the new Wrangler will draw inspiration. Pics from CNET and the Car and Driver Blog.
“Like everyone we have clearly defined plans for electrification of our vehicles. As you get into the 20s it’s impossible to have a balanced fleet without a wide range of electrification – we have those plans and we have the technology. You’ll probably hear more about electrification towards the end of this year.”
Significantly, Manley concedes that the benefit of incorporating electric torque is just too good to pass up, but the move to incorporate electricity has to be carefully considered: “For the Wrangler you need to strike the right balance; we don’t want to do something that will leave you stranded on a hillside. So for me, full battery EV is not a great fit. But hybridisation works well with the brand because of the attributes that come with electric motors – not just the torque, but also the control.”
It's reasonable to see why fully electric doesn't make sense yet. To be able to park your Wrangler for three weeks while living on a mountain somewhere, and then to just 'get in and go home' when you're homesick is what makes the Wrangler so appealing - so any electrification that inhibits that image is purely brand defeating.
On the aesthetic front, the new Wrangler could get the doughnut doors from the Switchback concept, which is the coolest off road innovation we've seen a while. Doughnut doors are doors with holes by the way, which accentuates the awesome military look and will be well-loved on a hot African adventures.
Other than that it will be completely recognisable as a Jeep and that there is really important for the brand and according to the boss himself, his very life: "It’s definitely going to move the game along but you will absolutely know it’s a Wrangler – for sure! If we did anything that departed from the Wrangler formula I don’t think I’d be able to get out of the States.”
Oh. And by the way. There's also a Jeep bakkie on the way...
Yes, we just dropped that bomb and said nothing more about it. Watch this space.