Jeep has introduced its new Wrangler 4xe, a plug-in hybrid that will be available in Europe, China and the United States by early 2021. The Jeep Renegade 4xe and Compass 4xe models – introduced last year in Geneva – began arriving in Europe this summer.
The Wrangler 4xe’s plug-in hybrid powertrain is capable of up to 25 miles of nearly silent, zero-emission, electric-only propulsion, making it commuter friendly as an all-electric daily driver without range anxiety and the most capable and eco-friendly Jeep vehicle off-road, Jeep says.
Jeep will offer electrification options on each nameplate in the next few years, it says, with Electrified Jeep vehicles carrying the 4xe badge.
“Our Jeep 4xe vehicles will be the most efficient, responsible and capable that the brand has ever created,” said Christian Meunier, Global President of Jeep Brand – FCA. “We are committed to make Jeep the greenest SUV brand. The electrification of the Jeep lineup will allow commuters to travel solely on electric power, delivering an efficient and fun on-road experience and offering an ability to enjoy even more Jeep capability off-road in nearly complete silence.”
The Jeep Wrangler 4xe will be sold globally, with electric vehicle (EV) charge port plugs tailored to specific regions. It is assembled at FCA’s Toledo Assembly Complex in Toledo, Ohio.
The Jeep Wrangler 4xe powertrain integrates two electric motors and a 400-volt battery pack with a turbocharged, four-cylinder engine and TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission.
Key elements of the Wrangler 4xe powertrain include 375 horsepower, 470 lb.-ft. of torque and an estimated 50 MPGe from the following components:
- 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4
- Engine-mounted motor generator unit
- Transmission-mounted motor generator unit integrated into eight-speed automatic transmission (ZF 8P75PH)
- 400-volt, 17-kWh, 96-cell lithium-ion, nickel manganese cobalt battery pack
The 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 engine is part of FCA’s Global Medium Engine family. The direct-injection engine uses a twin-scroll, low-inertia turbocharger mounted directly to the cylinder head, along with a dedicated cooling circuit for the turbocharger, intake air and throttle body.
A high-voltage, liquid-cooled motor generator unit mounts at the front of the engine, replacing the conventional alternator. A robust belt connects the motor generator to the engine crankshaft pulley. The motor generator spins the engine for nearly seamless, fuel-saving, start-stop operation and generates electricity for the battery pack. The Wrangler 4xe does not use a conventional 12-volt starter motor. The Wrangler 4xe is equipped with a 12-volt battery to run accessories.
The second high-voltage motor generator is mounted at the front of the transmission case, replacing the conventional torque converter of an automatic transmission. Two clutches work to manage power and torque from the e-motor and engine. A binary clutch (on/off) is mounted between the engine and the motor. When this clutch is open there is no mechanical linkage between the engine and the e-motor, which enables it to propel the Wrangler 4xe in electric-only mode.
When the binary clutch is closed, torque from the 2.0-liter engine and the e-motor flow combine through the automatic transmission. A variable clutch mounted behind the e-motor manages engagement with the transmission to improve drivability and efficiency.
The Jeep Wrangler 4xe’s 400-volt, 17-kWh, 96-cell lithium-ion battery pack uses nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) graphite chemistry. The pack and controls mount underneath the second-row seat, where it is protected from outside elements. The Wrangler 4xe’s second-row seat is redesigned, allowing the bottom cushion to flip forward for access to the battery.
Encased in an aluminum housing, the pack is fitted with a dedicated heating and cooling circuit to keep the battery at its optimum temperature for best performance. The temperature control circuit includes a dedicated heater unit and a chiller that uses the Wrangler air-conditioning refrigerant to reduce coolant temperature when needed.
The Wrangler 4xe hybrid system includes an Integrated Dual Charging Module (ICDM), which combines a battery charger and a DC/DC converter in a single unit that is more compact than two separate components, and a next-generation Power Inverter Module (PIM) that is reduced in size. These components are housed and protected from damage in a steel structure mounted below the battery pack.
All high-voltage electronics, including the wiring between the battery pack and the electric motors, are sealed and waterproof. Like all Trail Rated Jeep Wranglers, the Wrangler 4xe is capable of water fording up to 30 inches (76 cm).
The electric charge port features a push-open/push-close cover and is located on the left front cowl of the Wrangler 4xe for convenient nose-in parking at charging locations. The charge port includes LED indicators of charging status. An LED battery level monitor is mounted on top of the instrument panel, making it easy to check battery state of charge at a glance during charging.
The Wrangler 4xe hybrid powertrain has three modes of operation, known as E Selec. The driver can select the desired powertrain mode via buttons mounted on the instrument panel, to the left of the steering wheel. Regardless of the mode selected, the Wrangler 4xe operates as hybrid once the battery nears its minimum state of charge.
- Hybrid: The default mode blends torque from the 2.0-liter engine and electric motor. In this mode, the powertrain will use battery power first, then add in propulsion from the 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 when the battery reaches minimum state of charge
- Electric: The powertrain operates on zero-emission electric power only until the battery reaches the minimum charge or the driver requests more torque (such as wide-open throttle), which engages the 2.0-liter engine
- eSave: Prioritizes propulsion from the 2.0-liter engine, saving the battery charge for later use, such as EV off-roading or urban areas where internal combustion propulsion is restricted. The driver can also choose between Battery Save and Battery Charge during eSave via the Hybrid Electric Pages in the Uconnect monitor
To help optimize the benefit of the E Selec modes, the Wrangler 4xe driver information display and the Uconnect touchscreen feature Eco Coaching Pages. The Eco Coaching Pages let owners monitor power flow and see the impact of regenerative braking, schedule charging times to take advantage of lower electric rates and view their driving history with a detail of electric and gasoline usage.
Regenerative braking is a key part of the Wrangler 4xe eco-friendly equation. When the driver steps on the brake pedal, the powertrain control engages the maximum available regenerative braking, up to 0.25 g, from the electric motors to slow the vehicle, augmented with the Wrangler’s traditional friction brakes. The regenerative braking feature also extends the replacement period for brake pads.
With 4×4 engaged, all four wheels feed torque for regenerative braking, maximizing the energy recovery. Electricity due to regenerative braking is fed to the battery pack to maintain or increase the state of charge.
The Wrangler 4xe also features the ability to maximize regenerative energy production via a driver-selectable Max Regen feature.
The new Jeep Wrangler 4xe is available in three models: 4xe, Sahara 4xe and Rubicon 4xe. Wrangler 4xe and Wrangler Sahara 4xe models are equipped with full-time 4×4 systems, front and rear next-generation Dana 44 axles and are fitted with the Selec-Trac two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio. The intuitive system allows the driver to set it and forget it in any environment.
An available Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential provides extra grip and capability in low-traction situations, such as driving over sand, gravel, snow or ice.
Wrangler Rubicon 4xe models carry the Rock-Trac 4×4 system that includes a two-speed transfer case with a 4:1 low-range gear ratio, full-time 4×4, front and rear next-generation Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lok electric front- and rear-axle lockers.
The Wrangler 4xe includes Selec-Speed Control with Hill-ascent and Hill-descent Control. This allows drivers to control vehicle speed up and down steep, rugged grades with the transmission shift lever.