Jeep is on track to produce a plug-in hybrid model of the legendary Wrangler and plans to have it in showrooms in 2020. The company has announced that key components for the PHEV Jeep will be produced at its Toledo Machining Plant in Ohio.
The Toledo Machining Plant will be responsible for the Power Electronics module for the Jeep Wrangler plug-in. This is the Power Inverter and the Integrated Dual Charger (on-board charger and DC/DC converter for fast charging). These will be built in the machining plant, tested, and then sent over to the nearby Toledo Assembly Plant where the Wrangler PHEV will be put together. Jeep says that the Power Electronics module will reside in a protective structure between the exhaust and drive shaft.
Jeep has not given many more specifics about the Wrangler plug-in, but we can infer some ideas from other products in the Fiat Chrysler Autos (FCA) lineup. The Wrangler's six-cylinder engine, for example, is almost identical to the six-cylinder engine in the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, the "Pentastar." That engine couples with a plug-in hybrid powertrain in the Pacifica Hybrid that is very likely almost exactly what will appear in the Wrangler PHEV as well.
In the Pacifica plug-in, the 3.6-liter V6 is modified to the Atkinson cycle for efficiency (at the expense of power output) and paired with an electronically variable transmission (EVT), dual electric motors, and a 16 kWh battery pack. This setup lets the minivan move up to 75 mph (120 km/h) on electric drive alone and gives it a range of about 33 miles (53 km) per charge.
Given the heavier design of the Wrangler, we expect that all-electric range for that model would be shorter, but that would also depend on battery pack size. Jeep could modify the size of the packs, though doing so would mean less economy of scale for the Wrangler plug-in versus the minivan using the same drivetrain.
Currently, Chrysler gets the Pacifica Hybrid's batteries from LG Chem in Michigan. It's likely that Jeep would do the same. These packs include thermal management and a very dense power to weight of about 100 Wh per kilogram.
FCA will very likely release much more information on the Jeep Wrangler plug-in closer to its launch in 2020. In all, Fiat-Chrysler plans to have 30 electrified vehicle models by 2022, with this Jeep Wrangler PHEV being one of them. The environmental bonuses are nice and all, but for serious off-roaders, the immediate torque and chance of higher outputs to the wheel at low speeds should be exciting.
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