Jeep previews future of all-electric lineup and autonomous off-roading
Jeep vehicles may not seem like the most obvious candidates for electrified powertrains, but the process of electrifying every Jeep is already underway ... and it's only going to pick up speed. Instead of dragging its heels, Jeep intends to throw itself into the electric and autonomous revolutions, molding bleeding-edge technologies into experiences that enhance Jeep life, from fully electric Wranglers supported by trailhead solar chargers and vehicle-to-vehicle charging, to self-driving 4x4s that shuttle adventures to and from drop-off points.
Today is Stellantis EV Day 2021, a time for the global auto conglomerate and brands therein to lay out electrification plans for the next decade or so. While some brands came out rather stiff and flat-footed in their presentations, Jeep got creative in highlighting a thought-provoking future in which electrification and other evolving auto technologies aren't mere inevitabilities but invaluable tools in improving the world and our means of traveling through it.
Jeep will start by continuing to expand its trailhead solar charger network and steadily expanding the 4xe family to include zero-emissions electric models in every SUV segment by 2025. Those efforts will include the launch of a zero-emissions Grand Wagoneer, to give Jeep an EV in the premium SUV segment. Also by 2025, Jeep aims for 70 percent of its vehicle sales to represent electrified models.
More generally, Jeep intends to leverage 4xe technology toward improving the on- and off-road experience, offering more capability via increased on-demand torque, more enjoyment through silent open-air off-roading, and more passenger and cargo space through more efficient electrified-powertrain packaging.
Beyond those immediate plans, outlined directly by Jeep chief Christian Meunier, Jeep today also looks deeper into the crystal ball with a promo video showing other possible breakthrough features. Starting in the present with Wrangler 4xes charging at one of its solar stations, Jeep leaps ahead to 2025, when a fully electric Wrangler "Freedom" offers such features as biometric recognition, peer-to-peer charging for topping off a second Wrangler from its nearly full battery, and drone pairing for filming off-road adventures.
From there, Jeep time-travels forward once again, this time to 2030, a year in which glass-pyramid tents are apparently the hottest trend in glamping. By now, the all-electric Wrangler can navigate off-road fully autonomously, dropping its owners off at the trailhead hours before picking them up at the terminus. In this same way, the Wrangler could drop a mountain biker off at the top of a mountain and pick him up at the bottom for a shuttled downhill, or drop a kayaker off at a put-in and pick her up at the takeout.
The features in Jeep's video may not come to fruition in the timeframes given — or at all — but they do a good job of showing how evolving auto technologies could give drivers more than just the warm "save the world" fuzzies and truly enhance the driving experience behind and beyond the wheel.
Jeep's announcement comes as part of a broader Stellantis plan to invest €30 billion in electrification and software through 2025. The group intends for all 14 of its brands to offer best-in-class electrified offerings and aims to develop battery electric vehicles with between 300 and 500 miles (482 to 805 km) of range and 20-mile/minute charging times. Battery development and manufacturing at five American and European gigafactories will be a core part of the electrification efforts, and Stellantis targets 2026 for the introduction of solid state battery technology.
Before it gets four or nine years into the future, Jeep has a more imminent electrified vehicle introduction on the horizon. The 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe plug-in hybrid will become the next member of the 4xe lineup when it debuts with the rest of the fifth-generation Grand Cherokee family at this year's New York International Auto Show in August.
You can watch Jeep's six-minute EV Day presentation below.
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