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Hybrid Wrangler on the Way, But Jeep Boss Still Isn’t Sure What Kind
The Truth About Cars
By Steph Willems on March 8, 2017
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.