Stellantis, the new parent company formed via the merger of Fiat Chrysler and the French automaker Group PSA, has decided to electrify its quintessential SUV Jeep brand. “Our vision is to be the greenest SUV brand in the world,” claims Jeep CEO Christian Meunier. The 2021 Wrangler 4xe is the carmaker’s 1st step away from gas guzzling towards electrification.
Says Jeep: “Forging a new path to the future, the 2021 Wrangler 4xe has all the legendary capability and open-air freedom the Jeep Brand is known for, now with plug-in electric capability that adds to the adventure. It’s hybrid innovation with no compromises, and it goes all in on the fun.”
The Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid has been named Hybrid Technology Solution of the Year by the AutoTech Breakthrough Awards program. The PHEV has also been named 2021 Green SUV of the year by leading industry publication Green Car Journal. The e-car is assembled at the FCA Toledo Assembly Complex in Toledo, Ohio.
The 4xe is paired with a 2.0L Turbo Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) engine and two permanent magnet electric motors. They’re powered by a 17kWh lithium-ion battery pack comprised of 96 Samsung prismatic cells, located underneath the rear passenger seats, which can flip up to offer access. The battery pack is encased in aluminum, with a steel structure underneath the car protecting the power inverter module and the unit containing the hybrid battery charger and DC/DC converter. A dedicated heating and cooling circuit is used to keep the battery at its optimum temperature for best performance. Jeep says: “All high-voltage electronics, including the wiring between the battery pack and the electric motors, are sealed and waterproof.” So the Wrangler 4xe can still ford 30 inches of water and not injure the battery pack.
Jeep claims the Wrangler 4xe will travel up to 25 miles on electricity alone and deliver an EPA-estimated 50 MPGe. The official EPA e-range rating is 22 miles – 3 miles less than Jeep’s estimate. The Wrangler 4xe has received an EPA efficiency rating of 49 MPGe combined and fuel economy of 20 mpg in hybrid mode. Total driving range is 370 miles.
“Exclusive content identifies the Jeep Wrangler 4xe as the most technologically advanced Wrangler ever,” says Jeep. “New Electric Blue coloring on the front and rear Rubicon tow hooks stands out against the black bumpers. The unique blue coloring also traces the Rubicon name on the hood, Jeep badge and the Trail Rated badge. Select Easter egg design cues also receive the Electric Blue shade. The black hood decal is outlined in the special color with ‘4xe’ that lets the body color show through. Ten exterior colors are available for any of the Wrangler 4xes, including “Granite Crystal Metallic,” “Billet Silver Metallic,” “Snazzberry,” and “Hella Yella.
Says MOTORTREND’s reviewer Alexander Stoklosa: “This Jeep whooshes forward with urgency, squealing the rear tires if the transfer case is left in two-wheel drive. The quickest acceleration requires the full-time four-wheel drive be engaged, and Jeep claims the sprint to 60 mph takes six seconds flat. We giddily and repeatedly shot the Wrangler 4xe to highway speeds and beyond, and the strangest part wasn't how easily it did so but how much more stable it felt at higher velocities than a typical Wrangler. They are usually handfuls at high speeds, with the merest sneeze of crosswind or irregular pavement sending the tall, dual-solid-axle SUV wayward. The weighty battery seems to better anchor the 4xe to the pavement. More than a feeling, the electric hardware objectively lowers the Wrangler's center of gravity and shifts it rearward, delivering near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution and among the best handling you'll find in any Wrangler.”
There are three trims: Unlimited Sahara (MSRP: $54,995), Unlimited Sahara High Altitude ($59,990) and Unlimited Rubicon (MSRP: $59,995). They all use a PHEV automatic transmission and a 4x4 drive.
Exterior features for all three PHEVs include: 2 front tow hooks and 1 rear tow hook, power/heated exterior mirrors, a full-size matching rear-mounted spare tire, and automatic LED headlamps with time-off delay. Unlimited Sahara and Unlimited Sahara High Altitude use 20-inch fully-painted aluminum wheels with 275/55R20 BSW all-season tires. Unlimited Rubicon uses 17-inch fully-painted aluminum wheels with 275/55R20 BSW all-season tires.
Interior features for all three PHEVs include: a locking glove box, rear compartment storage, front seat back map pockets, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, sun visors with illuminated vanity mirrors, power windows with front on-touch down, speed-sensitive door locks, 3 rear seat head restraints, rear 60/40 split folding seats, a rear dome lamp, a universal garage door opener, AC with automatic temperature control and air filtering, ambient LED interior lighting, and Leather-faced seats with 8-way manual driver's adjuster including 2-way manual lumbar adjust. Unlimited Rubicon uses the same seats, but with premium cloth instead of leather-faced.
Safety and security-wise, the three vehicles come standard with Advanced multistage front and supplemental seat-mounted side airbags, a ParkView Rear Back-Up Camera, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Hill Start Assist, Traction Control, Electronic Roll Mitigation, and Trailer Sway Control, Steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, and 4-wheel antilock disc regenerative brakes.
The 4xe Hybrid’s Max Regen feature slows the Wrangler 4xe faster than standard regenerative braking and generates more electricity for the battery pack. The 17kWh battery can be fully recharged in approximately 2 hours using a Level II charger (240V), or in 12 hours using the included Level I charger (115V).
Three drive modes – Hybrid, Electric and eSave – make the Wrangler 4xe eco-friendly without impacting the Jeep’s adventurous spirit. The default mode, Hybrid, combines torque from both the 2.0L turbocharged engine and the electric motors. This mode provides maximum horsepower, instant torque, and the best acceleration. Electric power is consumed first to maximize cost savings – the gas engine stays off until e-power is exhausted. Choose Electric mode to use battery power only —until the battery reaches the minimum charge or when you want more torque, which engages the 2.0L engine. eSave mode saves the battery charge for later use, like for low-emission zones in cities or on the trail for near-silent exploring with maximum torque and horsepower. In all three modes, the battery retains a reserve, even if the Electric mode has used up its driving range.
All three Jeep PHEVs use a Uconnect 4C NAV with 8.4-inch touchscreen display including GPS Navigation, SiriusXM Guardian with a 1-year subscription, SiriusXM Traffic Plus and Travel Link with a 5-year subscription. And all three trims have a 7-inch full color customizable vehicle information display, a media hub with an auxiliary audio input jack and 4 USB ports. The cars use an Alpine Premium Audio System.
Smartphone integration offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus SiriusXM Satellite Radio, which includes a one-year subscription.
Thedrive.com’s Stef Schrader: “Jeep's first electrified Wrangler—a plug-in hybrid that can run on battery power alone, at least for a spell—really does a little bit of everything well without losing sight of what it means to be a Jeep. The 4xe pairs a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four internal combustion engine with two electric motors for a combined output of 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. That's as much torque as the V8-powered Rubicon 392, except peak torque hits at lower revs and the whole rig gets well over twice the real-world in-city miles-per-gallon.”
The Federal government provides an income tax credit of $7,500 for the purchase or lease of the Jeep Wrangler 4xe. Consult a CURRENTEV representative for additional incentive details.
Written May, 2021
There are currently 4 primary incentives available to the California consumer that substantially lower the cost of buying or leasing an EV. CURRENT provides all the guidance or assistance you may need to apply for these incentives.