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September 4, 2020

Jeep Electrifies the Wrangler with a New Plug-In Hybrid Variant

After the launch of the Renegade and Compass plug-in hybrids, Jeep is expanding its electrified vehicle offering by launching the Wrangler’s first-ever electrified variant: the Wrangler 4xe. Confirmed for a global launch in early 2021, it will be the most capable, technically advanced, and eco-friendly Wrangler ever.

The Jeep Wrangler 4xe powertrain integrates two electric motors and a 400-volt battery pack with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Overall, it’ll generate 375 horsepower and 637 Nm of torque.

A high-voltage, liquid-cooled motor generator unit mounted at the front of the engine, replaces the conventional alternator. Not only does it generate electricity for the 17-kWh battery pack, but it also acts as the starter for the engine (it doesn’t use a conventional starter motor). A 12-volt battery does run the electrical accessories though.

The second high-voltage motor generator is mounted at the front of the transmission case, replacing the conventional torque converter of the 8-speed automatic transmission.

Two clutches work to manage power and torque from the e-motor and engine. A binary clutch (on/off) is mounted between the engine and the motor. When this clutch is open there is no mechanical linkage between the engine and the e-motor, which enables it to propel the Wrangler 4xe in electric-only mode (up to 40 kilometers, according to Jeep).

When the binary clutch is closed, torque from the 2.0-liter engine and the e-motor flow combine through the automatic transmission. A variable clutch mounted behind the e-motor manages engagement with the transmission to improve drivability and efficiency.

Instant torque from the electric motor will undoubtedly improve on the Wrangler’s already legendary off-road capability. The 4xe comes with full-time 4x4 systems, front and rear next-generation Dana 44 axles with a Selec-Trac two-speed transfer case, and a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio. Meanwhile, the Wrangler Rubicon 4xe carries the Rock-Trac 4x4 system and Tru-Lok electric front- and rear-axle lockers. Aside from improved articulation and suspension travel from its electronic disconnecting sway bar, its crawl ratio is 77.2:1 which makes scaling any obstacle easy.

The battery pack itself is located underneath the second-row seats. Encased in an aluminum housing, the pack is fitted with a dedicated heating and cooling circuit to keep the battery at its optimum temperature. The temperature control circuit includes a dedicated heater unit and a chiller that uses the Wrangler’s air conditioning refrigerant to reduce coolant temperature when needed.

All high-voltage electronics, including the wiring between the battery pack and the electric motors, are sealed and waterproof. Like all Trail Rated Jeep Wranglers, the Wrangler 4xe is capable of water fording up to 760 mm.

The Wrangler 4xe looks pretty much like a standard Wrangler but new Electric Blue coloring (exterior and interior) sets it apart from the rest of the range.

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