Jeep reveals plans to take electrified propulsion beyond the paved road with the 2021 Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid. The company is partnering with Electrifying America to create the Jeep 4xe charging network; these EV charging stations will be installed at, or near, trailheads of Jeep Badge of Honour off-road routes. Stations are scheduled to open this spring at three of the most popular off-road sites for the Jeep brand: Moab, Utah; the Rubicon Trail in Pollock Pines, California; and Big Bear, California. Additional stations will be operational around the country by the end of 2021 and will either be connected to the grid or supported by solar power.
“Electrification opens a new chapter in the Jeep Brand story, and it brings an entirely new level of excitement and enjoyment to our enthusiastic owners” – Christian Meunier, Jeep Brand CEO.
The network of EV charging stations coincides with the launch of the 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid, “the most capable, technically advanced, and eco-friendly Wrangler ever built…Jeep enthusiasts can explore nature’s beauty with zero-emission propulsion that provides instant, trail-conquering torque.” Jeep 4xe owners will be able to utilise an app from Electrify America to access free power at the new stations and monitor their charging session. Giovanni Palazzo, president and chief executive officer of Electrify America, states: “It is our goal to provide electric drivers with the freedom to get to where they want to go, whether it be on the highway or off-road.” It’s great to see big partnerships such as this working together to accelerate the progression of the EV infrastructure, which is far behind the development of electric vehicles. Furthermore, the introduction of remote solar-powered charging stations offers a new world of possibilities for 4×4 enthusiasts.
The 4xe trailhead chargers will deliver Level 2 (240-volt) charging, which means the 17-kilowatt-hour battery pack in the Wrangler can be fully recharged in about two hours, providing 49 MPGe, and 21 miles of electric range. Performance is also impressive, with 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. The power delivery can be adjusted to suit the terrain via the E Select modes and include the eSave option. This setting saves the battery charge for later and instead prioritises propulsion from the 2.0-litre engine (in this mode, the driver can choose between “battery saving” and “battery charging”). The 2021 Wrangler 4xe launched in Sahara 4xe ($47,995 MSRP) and Rubicon 4xe ($51,695 MSRP) trim levels. These prices exclude an available $7,500 federal tax credit, any additional eligible state and local credits, and $1,495 in destination charges).
The development of electric vehicles has accelerated exponentially over the last five years, the specifications on paper rivalling and often superseding their gas-guzzling counterparts. Unfortunately, it’s the lack of charging stations that’s the real limiting factor in the transition from gas to electric. It’s therefore great to see Jeep partnering with industry giant Electrify America to invest in the infrastructure that’s imperative to the success of new vehicles, such as the Wrangler 4xe. Let’s hope this inspires more car manufacturers to do the same.