Jeep’s design boss has said the firm is working ‘furiously behind the scenes’ as the brand plots to electrify its line-up.
Speaking ahead of the public reveal of the brand’s latest concept cars at the Easter Jeep Safari – an event in Utah that attracts 50,000 owners from across the world – Mark Allen, head of exterior design at Jeep, said he was ‘shocked’ at the acceptance of EVs by the brand’s audience.
— Jeep (@Jeep) April 5, 2022
At last year’s Easter Jeep Safari, the American firm revealed the Magneto concept – an all-electric version of the Wrangler, the brand’s most iconic and recognisable model. For 2022, Jeep has created a ‘volume two’, packing it with far more performance, as power surges from 281bhp to 616bhp, and torque growing from 370Nm to a huge 1,150Nm. Allan says this should allow for a 0-60mph of under three seconds, and has come as a result of Jeep fans asking for more power from last year’s concept.
While a battery-electric Wrangler is not yet confirmed for production, Allan hinted that the brand was working on it.
“We are working furiously behind the scenes on filling these spaces of electrification in the future. We’re very aware the survival of Jeep and every automotive manufacturer is going to be largely based on electric. What we’re really interested in is the benefits of EVs from beyond what most vehicles will experience on-road, and we’re already finding out.”
Speaking about last year’s Magneto concept, Allan said: “I was really shocked at this model’s acceptance last year, because I always view Jeep purists as a bit traditional in their thoughts, but they’re very progressive in wanting the benefits of electric off-road – primarily the torque characteristics and the quietness of these vehicles.
“Of course there are concerns over range and charging, but I’m confident that will be resolved in the future. I’m happy we’re able to do this, get our concept cars out there and be allowed in the company to experiment very openly, and we welcome people’s feedback.”
Jeep currently offers plug-in hybrid versions of its Renegade and Compass in the UK, with the Wrangler 4xe already available as a PHEV in other markets. Jeep is also gearing up to launch its first EV in 2023, with the as-yet-unnamed model likely to be based on the Stellantis e-CMP platform, used on the Peugeot e-2008 and Vauxhall Mokka-e. That means a conventional front-wheel-drive setup is expected, though further details about the upcoming EV are predicted to be announced imminently.