WHAT IT IS: A fully electrified version of Jeep’s iconic Wrangler 4×4. Jeep has lobbed hints about this project for years—we even drove an electric Wrangler prototype in 2008. Since then, the industry has hurtled in earnest toward an electrified future, and Jeep unveiled the Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid and—more tantalizingly—the Wrangler Magneto EV concept. Both offer clues to what Jeep could be up to with the production Wrangler EV: batteries tucked in multiple places, including under the rear seat, in the cargo area, and/or under the hood; an electric motor placed pretty much where the engine normally would be; and even Electrify America charging stations installed at off-road trailheads around the country. These stations are becoming reality right now for 4xe owners, but they are clearly intended to serve more than a niche trim level.
WHY IT MATTERS: As Tesla has shown, Americans will buy electric cars if those EVs are interesting, and we can think of no bolder confirmation of a new reality than an electric Jeep Wrangler. Next to the whole “making history” bit, there’s the not-insignificant matter that electrification could actually enhance the Wrangler experience. That’s because electric motors are torquey, and their instant-on power is a boon during precision off-road maneuvers—as we found wheeling the Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid up an off-road trail in EV-only mode. For the full story, check out this article from Motor Trend.