It’s been a couple of years since Fiat Chrysler launched the 48V mild-hybrid “eTorque” system paired with a 2.0L turbo 4-cyl. in the Jeep Wrangler for improved fuel economy and seamless stop/start capability.
Today, FCA steps up its electrification strategy by unveiling a much more efficient 400V plug-in hybrid drivetrain, once again incorporating the 2.0L twin-scroll turbo-4, in the ’21 Jeep Wrangler 4xe, going on sale early next year in the U.S., Europe and China. It is assembled in Toledo, OH.
Billed by Jeep as the “most eco-friendly Wrangler ever,” the 4xe has a 17-kWh battery pack that works in tandem with the gasoline engine to produce 375 hp and 470 lb.-ft. (637 Nm) of torque while able to drive up to 25 miles (64 km) in all-electric mode.
A motor generator is mounted to the engine while another motor generator is housed within the ZF 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission and replaces the conventional torque converter. Both motor generators are high voltage, while the liquid-cooled one mounted to the engine replaces the conventional alternator, spins the engine in stop/start mode and generates electricity for the battery pack.
Two clutches manage power and torque from the e-motor and engine, while a binary clutch is mounted between the engine and motor. When this clutch is open, there is no mechanical linkage between the engine and e-motor, allowing the Wrangler 4xe to run in electric-only mode.
Jeep officials say the Wrangler 4xe will compromise nothing with its Trail Rated running gear: solid front and rear axles, fulltime 4x4 two-speed transfer case, torque-on-demand power, fully articulating suspension and 30 ins. (76 cm) of water fording capability.
The Wrangler 4xe’s 96-cell lithium-ion battery pack uses nickel manganese cobalt graphite chemistry and is positioned below the second-row seats (pictured below).
The bottom cushion flips 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. All high-voltage electronics, including the wiring between the battery pack and the electric motors, are sealed and waterproof.
“Our Jeep 4xe vehicles will be the most efficient, responsible and capable that the brand has ever created,” says Christian Meunier, FCA’s global president of Jeep brand. “We are committed to make Jeep the greenest SUV brand.”
The Wrangler isn’t the only Jeep getting an advanced plug-in hybrid drivetrain.
Jeep introduced 4xe versions of the smaller Renegade and Compass last year at the Geneva auto show, and those models began arriving in Europe this summer.
In China, Jeep introduced the Grand Commander PHEV last year.