Jeep’s foray into battery-powered vehicles isn’t new. The automaker introduced two plug-in hybrids last year – Renegade and Compass – and one this year – the Wrangler. The automaker hasn’t been shy about its plans to electrify future models, and Jeep boss Christian Meunier recently reiterated that commitment to Autocar, laying out the company’s ambitions about adding versatile battery technology to its off-road vehicles.
Meunier told the publication that Jeep wants to become “the greenest, most sustainable SUV company in the world.” That’s a bold proclamation, but one that could have significant benefits for not only fuel-conscious consumers but also off-road enthusiasts. But it won’t be easy, either. Even Meunier admits the change would be a challenge, but it’d be an “exciting one.”
The PHEV Renegade, Compass, and Wrangler, the tip of Jeep’s electrification efforts, are undergoing cold-weather testing now, according to the publication. Hybrid vehicles have several benefits, especially in Europe and China, where emissions and fuel economy regulations are becoming stricter. They can allow for up to 31 miles (51 kilometers) of all-electric driving range, assuage any worries about range anxiety, and produce zero emissions.
Gallery: Jeep Plug-In Hybrids At CES 2020
The addition of batteries to Jeep’s models has advantages outside of emissions or fuel economy concerns, too. The ability to provide instant torque to any wheel while off-roading is exciting. There’s also the opportunity to reduce noise when out enjoying nature. Another advantage could be using the vehicle’s batteries to power electrical equipment such as camping gear or lights, as Autocar notes.
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Meunier and his team are diving head-first into hybridizing Jeep’s lineup. He told Autocar that “Either you try to be compliant and do the bare minimum or you embrace it and go full speed on it,” which sounds a lot like Ford’s explanation as to why it built the Mustang Mach-E instead of another compliance car. Meunier added that there’s an opportunity to make “really exciting products.”