Jeep announced their plans to go green a while ago, and it appears that it’s going to happen very soon with a plug-in hybrid Wrangler model slated to hit showrooms by 2020. The company recently announced that the critical components for the plug-in hybrid Jeep will be produced at its Toledo Machining Plant. The plant will be responsible for the manufacture of the power inverter and the integrated dual charger; both labeled as the Electronics Module. Once completed, the Electronics Module components will be shipped over to the nearby Toledo Assembly Plant, where the innovative Wrangler plug-in is to be assembled. According to Jeep, the Electronics Module will be housed in a structure located between the exhaust and drive shaft.
Details about the Wrangler plug-in have been scarce, but industry experts say that the plug-in Wrangler will borrow ideas from other successful hybrids from the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) lineup, mainly the Pacifica Hybrid. The current Wrangler is powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar engine – an engine that’s almost identical to the six-cylinder engine found on the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. The engine commonly referred to as the “Pentastar,” couples with an electric motor to power the car, and is expected to be the very same one that will appear in the upcoming eco-friendly Wrangler.
The Pentastar engine in the Pacifica Hybrid is modified to the Atkinson Cycle – intended to improve efficiency at the expense of power output, and using the electric motor to compensate for that power loss. The engine is also paired with an electronically variable transmission, dual electric motors, and a 16 kWh battery pack. The minivan has an all-electric range of up to 33 miles per charge. Meanwhile, given the heftier design of the Wrangler, it’s likely that the all-electric range will be shorter – depending on the battery pack size. Of course, Jeep can always modify the battery packs for better charge efficiency, but that would be pointless – the Wrangler’s drivetrain would be unnecessarily expensive to produce when compared to the Pacifica Hybrid with the same exact drivetrain.
FCA currently gets the Pacifica Hybrid batteries from LG Chem in Michigan, and it’s likely that the ones for the plug-in Wrangler will come from the same place. The battery packs include thermal management to keep them from overheating and reducing the risk of them igniting. FCA recently announced their five-year electrification plan, one that will bring over thirty new electric options over the entire lineup by 2022. Details on the plug-in Wrangler are scarce for now, and we are sure that FCA will likely make more announcements as we near closer to its launch in 2020. The environmental benefits and enhanced fuel economy will be selling points of the plug-in Wrangler, but devoted Jeepers will be looking out for the added torque that the electric motor can provide at lower speeds – perfect for off-roading!
Come by Miami Lakes Jeep and sneak a peek at the current 2018 Wrangler JL inventory while we wait for the plug-in version to arrive. You can even pass by Miami Lakes Chrysler and test drive the Pacifica Hybrid so you can get a feel for the drivetrain that’s expected to be the same or somewhat similar to the one in the plug-in Wrangler.
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