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Jeep Says It’s Not Making a Wrangler EV Yet To ‘Protect’ the Brand

The plug-in hybrid Wrangler 4xe is one of the manufacturer's most popular models, but it's not ready for full electrification just yet. Or rather, customers aren't.

Few cars in history are as famous as the Jeep. And for nearly 40 years, Jeep has been building rugged, off-roading SUVs and calling them Wranglers. With its utilitarian simplicity, removable top and doors, the Wrangler sports a special formula that went unchallenged for years until the Ford Bronco came back just recently. This formula is special, and it’s one that Jeep protects at all costs. That’s exactly why the brand’s first electric off-roader will be the upcoming Recon and not the Wrangler.

While the Wrangler name didn’t debut until the 1980s, its layout is interwoven with Jeep’s DNA. It has been since World War II. Fans who are loyal to the brand are familiar with that and they love it for what it is. According to Jeep, customers don’t want that formula to change.

“Well, we can’t forget what Jeep is. The Wrangler is what brought us to the table over 80 years ago, some derivative of that,” Jeep boss Bill Peffer told The Drive during a recent event. “So we protect that, right? That’s protecting our core. Lots of very loyal followers [that drive] the Wrangler.”


That doesn’t mean the Wrangler can’t get a little help from electrification. Not only is there a plug-in hybrid Wrangler, but it’s one of Jeep’s most successful models. Peffer pointed out that the 4xe Wrangler is “the number one PHEV in the market,” which is true. So why not expand that into a fully electric powertrain? Jeep seems to view that as something different entirely.

Now, Jeep has teased and even built fully electric Wranglers before. Remember the Easter Jeep Safari concepts? The first Wrangler Magneto used a single electric motor that was unusually paired with a six-speed manual transmission. The most recent one, Magneto 3.0, made 650 horsepower, had adaptive air suspension, and a selectable low range. It’s clear, then, that Jeep is fully capable of building a hardcore, electric Wrangler. It just doesn’t feel like the time is right to sell one to the public.

Instead, Jeep will funnel its electric know-how into the Recon, which still takes cues from the Wrangler. It’s said to be similarly sized to the four-door Wrangler and its doors will even come off. The strictly electrified powertrain options are the big differences, then. While the Recon is different from the Wrangler, it certainly shares a lot of its DNA.

If you want a fully electric Jeep anytime soon, you’ll have to look to the Recon or the newly revealed Wagoneer S. In the meantime, the brand will keep the Wrangler as close to its original form as possible—for as long as it can.

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