Hybrid Wrangler on the Way, But Jeep Boss Still Isn't Sure What Kind

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
hybrid wrangler on the way but jeep boss still isnt sure what kind

Fiat Chrysler intends to make the upcoming 2018 Wrangler a Jeep for everyone — single adventurers, families, cargo haulers and those whose hearts bleed at the thought of environmental harm — but it’s the latter category of buyer that Jeep isn’t quite sure how to please.

While the 2018 Wrangler remains on track for production late this year, the automaker recently pushed back the introduction of the much-anticipated pickup version. It now looks like any hybrid variant is also a ways off. That means buyers who hoped to emit slightly fewer hydrocarbons while crushing saplings and insects will need to wait before they save the planet.

Speaking to Auto Express at the Geneva Motor Show, Jeep head Mike Manley confirmed that there are still plans for a hybrid version of the next-generation Jeep. However, those plans don’t seem overly fleshed out.

Before it can put a hybrid Wrangler into production, FCA must first decide just how much electrification the model — and its potential buyers — can handle.

“We have continued our studies on hybridization for the Wrangler, and it’s a balance for us. Obviously there are loads of different hybrid technologies, from mild to 48v through to full battery-electric,” Manley said after confirming the model’s future existence.

“For the Wrangler you need to strike the right balance; we don’t want to do something that will leave you stranded on a hillside,” he continued. “So for me, full battery EV is not a great fit. But hybridization works well with the brand because of the attributes that come with electric equipment – not just the torque, but also the control.”

Sorry, tree embracers, electric Jeeps will remain the domain of Mattel for the foreseeable future.

While the automaker hasn’t graced us with a rendering or prototype, we know that the 2018 Wrangler will make greater use of aluminum in order to shed weight, coupled with fuel economy-minded aerodynamic improvements. Expect a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder among the available powerplants.

Production of the pickup variant isn’t scheduled to kick off until late 2019, and it’s nearly certain that a hybrid version would lag the basic Wrangler by at least a model year. The next-gen Wrangler is poised to spawn a multi-year roll-out of new models.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 08, 2017

    I sense some FUD here. Truly, the design of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler (or any 2018 product) should already be done, with tooling underway. If Jeep doesn't know what kind of hybrid tech they're going to use, they're either a)clueless, or b)lying. My suggestion: only a standard hybrid will do - no plug-in or full electric, since both are incompatible with the Jeep use case and image. And, as Big Al From 'Murica suggested, the hybrid battery would be great for providing some off-road electrical power. But, doing the math, my Optima Hybrid battery would only be good for running a toaster for a half hour. It's only 1.6 kWh, usually kept at half-full.

    • See 1 previous
    • Markogts Markogts on Mar 09, 2017

      I beg to differ, SCE. Exactly for the purpose of having camping electricity it would be wise to have a big battery AND a plug. Chademo is reversible, don't kbow for CCS, but should be too.

  • Sooperedd Sooperedd on Mar 08, 2017

    Having sold our Prius today and running some errands in our new Renegade I had the thought that it would make a great Hybrid. FCA is real late to the Hybrid/EV game.

  • SCE to AUX Probably couldn't afford it - happens all the time.
  • MaintenanceCosts An ugly-a$s Challenger with poor equipment choices and an ugly Dealership Default color combination, not even a manual to redeem it, still no sale.
  • Cha65689852 To drive a car, you need human intelligence, not artificial intelligence.Unfortunately, these days even human brains are turning into mush thanks to addiction to smartphones and social media.
  • Mike1041 A nasty uncomfortable little car. Test drove in 2019 in a search for a single car that would appease two drivers. The compromise was not much better but at least it had decent rear vision and cargo capacity. The 2019 Honda HRV simply was too unforgiving and we ditched after 4 years. Enter the 23 HRV and we have a comfy size.
  • SCE to AUX I wonder who really cares about this. "Slave labor" is a useful term for the agendas of both right and left."UAW Wants Auto Industry to Stop Using Slave Labor"... but what will the UAW actually do if nothing changes?With unrelenting downward pressure on costs in every industry - coupled with labor shortages - expect to see more of this.Perhaps it's my fault when I choose the $259 cell phone over the $299 model, or the cheaper parts at RockAuto, or the lower-priced jacket at the store.Do I care about an ethical supply chain? Not really, I just want the product to work - and that's how most consumers are. We'd rather not know.Perhaps the 1990s notion of conflict-free, blood-free, ethically-sourced diamonds will find its way into the auto industry. That would be a good thing.
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