Jeep Wrangler Magneto 2.0 pounds Moab with a vicious electrical storm
Jeep has gone all in on its annual raft of Easter Jeep Safari concepts this year, dazzling the Moab 4x4 crowd with what it defines as its most impressive lineup of Safari concepts ever. Its slogan "Zero Emissions Freedom" helps shape the concept slate, which is headlined by a ferocious evolution of last year's Wrangler Magneto. The Magneto 2.0 emerges as an absolute off-road tour de force, developing up to 625 hp and 850 lb-ft of torque for everything from slow-motion, high-consequence rock crawling to furious two-second 0-60-mph sprints.
Last year's Magneto concept was an intriguing bit of kit, with an 800-V electrical system powering the wheels via a 275-hp (205-kW) motor and six-speed manual transmission. Jeep has kept the six-speed manual but more than doubled peak amperage in the propulsion system to 600 A, available for 10 seconds in what Jeep likens to an electronic nitrous oxide boost. That allows the Magneto 2.0's custom-built axial-flux motor to deliver a massive 850 lb-ft (1,152 Nm) of torque immediately, allowing for unparalleled confidence during rock crawling. The selectable "max regen" mode assists in one-pedal crawling, while the Rubicon Rock-Trac transfer case splits the torque out to the front and rear axles.
When slow, steady bouldering opens up into flat, level desert sprinting, the Magneto uses its considerable electric output to tear from 0 to 60 mph (96.5 km/h) in two seconds flat. The 40-in off-road tires aren't the best set of shoes for that type of all-out running, but they work with the 3-in (76-mm) suspension lift in allowing the Magneto 2.0 to clear any obstacles and bumps that might otherwise slow it down.
As in last year's Magneto, the 70-kWh battery is split into four packs spread around the chassis for more even weight distribution. Helping to accommodate those packs and the other electrical bits necessary to make the Magneto 2.0 hum, Jeep has stretched the wheelbase by a full foot (30.5 cm) compared to a stock two-door Wrangler, giving it proportions comparable to an LJ Wrangler Unlimited from 2004-06. Jeep has also added in a custom driveshaft and off-road suspension while running a Dynatrac 60 Pro-Rock axle up front and beefy Dynatrac 80 in back. Both axles include differential lockers.
Jeep has worked to offset some weight gain with custom lightweight front and rear bumpers, carbon fiber fender flares, a custom carbon hood with window to the e-machinery below, and custom carbon B-pillar. Approach and departure angle benefit from the new bumpers. A generous dousing of "Surf Blue" paint throughout and a custom soft-top give the 2.0 a look that's similar to but distinct from the original Magneto.
While the Wrangler has served as a loyal mannequin for Jeep's initial exploration of BEV tech and other futuristic endeavors, it won't serve as the subject of Jeep's first all-electric model. In March, the company showed the first pictures of that vehicle, and it's a far less rugged pint-sized crossover sure to see way more highway miles than off-road terrain. Jeep plans to launch that model early next year.
The Magneto 2.0 is joined in Moab by a number of 4xe plug-in hybrid show Jeeps, including the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk PHEV Concept. Here, Jeep explores an expansion of the forthcoming Grand Cherokee 4xe line, putting the 4xe's 2.0-liter turbo four, dual electric motors and 400-V battery pack to work inside the most rugged, off road-ready Grand Cherokee model. Jeep says the Trailhawk PHEV concept has already tackled the Rubicon trail in full-electric mode, relying on a new sway-bar disconnect for better suspension articulation on large, punishing rocks. It also has a Quadra-Lift air suspension.
Jeep doesn't mention any production plans for the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk PHEV, but it certainly seems like a much more realistic proposition than the average Easter Safari concept.
Dive into the photo gallery to have a look at the other eight all-new and previously displayed concepts with which Jeep and Mopar kicked this year's Safari off. The event officially began on Saturday and runs through Easter Sunday, April 17.