The bridge between past and future.
When Jeep invites you to the stunning trails off Moab, Utah, you say yes. When they ask if you want a few minutes behind the wheel of a priceless Easter Jeep Safari concept car, you jump up and down with glee.
This is the all-electric, six-speed manual–equipped Jeep Wrangler Magneto Concept, and in many ways, it represents the bridge between past and future for the brand. I had just 15 short minutes to myself with the Magneto, but I learned a lot in that timeframe. To get the full experience, watch the above video so you can see (and hear) just how wild this Jeep is.
Jeep started this project with a 2018 Wrangler Rubicon two-door with the standard V6 and manual transmission. They immediately yanked the engine out and electrified the car, crucially keeping the six-speed and low range mode. Though the car is actually impossible to stall, even with left in gear without the clutch depressed, driving it along does require shifting.
The Magneto’s powertrain is good for 270 horsepower, with somewhere around 350 lb-ft of torque as well. In the state that we drove it (without doors or a backseat), the concept weighs 5,750 pounds. Jeep limited the torque to mimic the experience of a combustion engine. Need to climb a rock? Drop down to first. Want to pick up speed through a flat area? Pin the go pedal and get into 4th.
Gallery: 2021 Jeep Magneto EV Concept
Driving the Magneto is a mostly silent affair, save for some pretty significant whirring noise coming from the transfer case and power steering unit. Jeep assured us that if a Wrangler BEV were to enter production (hint hint, wink wink), it would not whine and scream like the concept car. The throttle is easy to modulate and the car pleasantly maintains its Wrangler-ness, barreling over rocks and ruts without a protest.
If – let’s be honest, when – Jeep makes an all-electric Wrangler, it won’t share all that much with the Magneto. But this wonderful little Frankenstein project, with its stick-shift and bright blue accents, is a smile-inducing preview of what a gas-less Wrangler will look like. Jeep is using the concept to test the waters with customers today, but don’t be surprised in a few years when the trails of Moab are filled with silent Wranglers off-roading just like their gas-powered predecessors.