Would you trust batteries in the wilderness?
“Welcome to the future” is repeated throughout the intro of Jeep’s electrification announcement video. It doesn’t help that the promotional piece shows fictitious things like a new Cherokee splashing through a stream as if it were a hardcore trail machine, as well as a Renegade blasting down some dirt road. Let’s face it: these days Jeep makes more urban crossovers than rugged wilderness rigs because most people rarely if ever leave behind civilization. Perhaps that’s why the brand is so boldly forging ahead with an aggressive electrification scheme.
Check out the timeline of Dodge's move toward electrification here.
Sure, jeeps were instrumental on the ground in the European and Pacific theaters of WWII, a source of pride for many a CJ and even Wrangler owner over the years. But when Christian Meunier, CEO of Jeep Brand, steps out in the announcement video to get enthusiasts excited about having a plug and batteries in their rig, it just falls flat.
The man goes on about how switching to electrification is all about ensuring Jeeps still have wilderness to play in. Because if you dare put another gallon of gas in your backwards Wrangler you will kill everything on this planet, including rock formations. This is about saving the future and to do so you need to shell out large amounts of cash for an expensive Jeep EV.
Things are a-changing with Jeep, with the Wrangler 4xe declared a “big success” by Meunier in his heavy American accent. Lots of people want to spend at least $54,595 for one instead of just $29,995 for a gas-burning Wrangler which will literally murder Earth. After all, for the second quarter of this year, 20% of all Wrangler sales were for the 4xe, making it the best-selling plug-in hybrid in the US. And as we all know, such a vehicle won’t lose sales momentum after the novelty wears off, which is why Jeep knows if it deletes the dirty gas engine and replaces it with batteries charged by magical clean electricity generated far from your house in ways you shouldn’t ask questions about, you won’t even miss your more affordable but awful trail rig.
For his part, Meunier puts almost no feeling into reading lines written by the marketing department of Stellantis about how electrifying Jeeps will give consumers more freedom. What does that even mean? Don’t ask questions, just consume product.
Cutting past some of the marketing spin, this announcement includes the unveiling of what Jeep calls the Wagoneer S, a future all-electric model that’s supposed to do 0-60 in about 3.5 seconds. That’s cool and all, but the design looks kinda weird. Supposedly it will give you 400 miles of driving range, although we wonder how much it will be in the real world, especially when temperatures dip below freezing. Most importantly, this doesn’t look like a trail machine at all, so Jeep is further abandoning its roots. But wait, there’s more.
Next up is the reveal of the new Jeep Avenger, so now we’re taking nameplates from Dodge’s history. Don’t worry, this contraption is aimed at consumers in Europe who will gleefully take out a 9-year loan to afford all the expensive onboard tech so they can arrive at the discoteca in style.
Then there’s the announcement that by the end of 2025 Jeep will release 4xe models for the whole brand model range. Most will be plug-in hybrids, but 4 will be all-electric. Excitement.
Finally, Jeep reveals in the video something which looks a little too much like the new Ford Bronco, so gee it’s really hard to figure out why it was made. Called the Jeep Recon, it’s an all-electric model that’s supposed to be great both on and off the road. Is it really? Surely you’ll have to fork out a ton of cash to even find out, and at that point would you dare wheel this thing hard on a trail?
It’s going to be really great seeing car chargers littering trailheads all over North America because that’s progress. Also, I’m waiting for Jeep to develop an electric jerrycan so these Jeep EV owners don’t get stranded or have to rely on a dirty diesel generator in the middle of nowhere. So that’s it, the future of Jeep looks absolutely brave and stunning.
Images via Stellantis