Stellantis Two-Speed Gearbox Patent Could Make Jeep EVs Better Off Road

Could we see this on an electric Jeep Wrangler?

Electric vehicles don’t have much need for multi-speed transmissions. Since they generate gobs of torque from zero rpm, the torque multiplication that gearing provides is unnecessary, and the drivetrain loss from added gears isn’t worth it. There are some EVs with two-speed transmissions, like the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT, but they’re exceptions, not the rule. However, there could be more transmission-having EVs coming thanks to Stellantis, as a patent filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) was just unearthed by Motor Authority, showing off a two-speed gearbox for electric off-roaders.

It doesn’t take a super-sleuth to recognize Stellantis’ intent, here. EVs will likely dominate car model lineups in the coming years, including trucks and off-roading SUVs, and Stellantis likely wants Jeep to stand out from the crowd. Jeep has always hung its hat on off-road prowess, so it can’t come to the EV table without an advantage. A two-speed transmission could be that advantage.

While Porsche and Audi use their two gears for off-the-line acceleration and top-speed performance, Stellantis patent suggests an EV with an on-road gear and an off-road gear. Immense low-end torque is helpful off-road but can be inefficient on the road, so Stellantis wants to have its cake and eat it, and a two-speed transmission allows it to accomplish that.

“Vehicle off-road driving typically requires low-speed and high-torque operation over a sustained period of time. In vehicles with internal combustion engines, this is commonly achieved through additional gearing in the transfer case. However, battery electric vehicles typically have single-speed gearboxes, which while providing good torque capability, are unable to provide sustained high torque,” Stellantis’ patent filing reads.

The transmission would consist of two planetary geat sets, in between the electric motor and axles. Two gearsets would also allow the electric off-roader to tank-turn, like the Hummer EV and Mercedes’ electric G-Class. Rivian initially announced a tank-turn feature but cancelled it, as tank turns harm off-road trails.

This patent filing doesn’t guarantee we’ll see a two-speed gearbox on a Stellantis product anytime soon, if at all. However, it does seem like it makes a ton of sense for an electric Jeep Wrangler.

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