Jeep has announced a new plug-in hybrid variant of the debuting JL Wrangler for 2020.
In a surprise announcement by Mike Manley, Jeep's chief, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the legendary off-roader will feature a range-extending engine, with no other specifications provided.
Despite the lack of information, many have speculated its powertrain could be remarkably close to fellow Fiat-Chrysler model Chrysler Pacifica minivan's setup, with a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack contributing to an all-electric 33-mile range and a total 566-mile range when including its 3.6-liter V6 engine.
Many purists have blasted off-road vehicles and electrified powertrains belonging in the same sentence.
Silent electric motors cutting through bush could defeat the purpose of an off-roading adventure that thrives on overstimulation. Another concern is the battery's placement and how its four-wheel-drive performance is subject to change if a large battery ends up integrated between its frame rails.
Questions also abound over the possibility of electric range being depleted before reaching the trail and hundreds of pounds of added weight, affecting handling and storage room. Lastly, hybrid versions are very likely only to offer minimum gains in fuel economy, weakening the value proposition for non-off-road activities.
No word yet on battery size or range.
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