All-Electric Jeep (it’s coming), Diesel Jeep (it’s coming soon) and Plug-in Hybrid Jeep (Yep) [Ask Nathan]

 

Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel Trail Warrior ConceptIn this ALL Jeep edition of “Ask Nathan:”

  • Is an all-electric Jeep a good idea?
  • Where’s my diesel Jeep?
  • When will we see a plug-in hybrid Jeep?
The all-electric Jeep – the 2004 Jeep Treo concept photo: FCA

The first question comes from Twitter (@Nathanadlen) regarding the prospects of an all-electric Jeep Wrangler.

Q: (Via Twitter@NathanAdlen) What do you think about a all-electric Jeep Wrangler or other Jeep?

Is it even a good idea? What if the grid goes down then what?

Keith Toby

 

The all-electric Jeep – 2004 Jeep Treo concept photo: FCA

Greetings Mr. Toby!

Your concerns are valid. Other concerns revolve around range, weight, price and durability too. The all-electric Jeep concept I attached to this post is a 2004 Jeep Treo concept and it’s meant to run on hydrogen, but that makes it an electric vehicle as well. I find it intriguing that Jeep engineers have been thinking about electric vehicles for some time.

Yes, there will be FCA vehicles that are electric, including an all-electric Jeep. They even said as much, with no additional details. It could be a Wrangler in the future, but I suspect a less off-road-centric Jeep will be first.

Let’s talk about the big questions: You can get a ton of performance out of an electric motor. They are incredibly compact for the amount of power you can draw. Maximum torque is available immediately and it’s possible to have one motor per wheel. There are only a few moving parts and they can be very rugged.

Jeep Treo concept. Sure, it’s an oddball, but check out the killer approach and departure angles along with the built in bike mounts! Photo: FCA

Also – electric motors experience no power loss at high elevation.

Electric vehicles are getting closer to internal combustion engine’s range every day. We are now seeing 200-miles or more coming from affordable electric vehicles. Most internal combustion engines average over 300-mile per tank – which is already matched by some EVs. It will take a few years, but there will come a time where powering up and fueling up take nearly the same amount of time.

The electrical grid going down? You’re right, it would be an issue for electric cars. Still, if you lived in a place that used solar or wind power (my sister’s place is totally solar powered) you could top off your batteries that way – no grid necessary.

Weight is one of the biggest issues for any off-road vehicle and an all-electric Jeep’s main issue may be battery weight. If it has four electric motors, many batteries will be needed. That many motors and batteries means a lot of heating and cooling too. That’s extra equipment which means even more weight.

Look, I’m not saying an all-electric Jeep would be an ideal “bugout” vehicle, but there could be some benefits too. Well, whatever Jeep/FCA has in mind, we should start getting hints in the near future. Stay tuned!

N


The next question comes from a Jeep Liberty CRD owner who wants to see a Diesel Jeep Wrangler soon.

Hi Roman and Nathan! Love your videos and I am a big Jeep fan like you! I was wondering when Jeep will make their Jeep Wrangler diesel available? 

I have a 2006 Jeep Liberty 4X4 CRD and it’s great, but its getting a little long in the tooth. I mean it’s great and all, but it’s showing its age and it’s only so so off road. You know what I mean right? Its front suspension is not up for heavy articulation like a Wrangler’s.

I am itching to see you guys test out a Jeep Wrangler Diesel soon! I’m very serious about replacing my old Liberty. When do you think we will see a diesel Wrangler? Some people say its been delayed and others say it will never be here because Fiat wants to make everything electric soon.

Please let me know if you have hear something or what you suspect.

Best,

Bob B

2018 jeep wrangler
2018 Jeep Wrangler

A: Hi Bob!

Some of us suspect they are waiting for the 2.0-liter turbo with e-Torque to begin selling before marketing the new diesel. If that’s the case, it should be soon as the turbos are heading to dealerships now.

It’s odd, they were testing the Jeep Wrangler diesel prototypes all over the place, we captured several testing in our neck of the woods. Not anymore. Either they are finished with emissions testing (what a majority of automakers test for in the high country) or they are headed back to the drawing board.

We were confounded but the FCA announcement that diesels were going away soon. We don’t know if this means they will scrap the diesel plans in the future or do a limited run for the next few years. We hope they stick to their original plan because, diesel torque and range? Hell yes, we like the sound of that.

Maybe we’ll get additional news at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show which happens in late November.

N


The last question comes from a big Jeep fan who stopped me at a furniture store with a question about a plug-in hybrid Jeep (the question is paraphrased).

 

Nathan. Tell me what you know about a PHEV Jeep. 

I have three Jeeps and my youngest is interested in getting the Renegade, but she’s also looking at PHEVs. Will there be a PHEV Jeep?

Nice-person-I-met-at-a-store-who’s-name-I-never-got

 

A:  Hi “Nice-person-I-met-at-a-store-who’s-name-I-never-got”

Yes! Well, at least in Europe. You can read the whole story (here).

The bottom line is that they will start European production of the PHEV Jeep Renegade soon and, not to far in to the future, we will have one as well. Keep in mind, this is part of FCA’s new electrification strategy which aims at making the majority of its flees electric, a hybrid or a PHEV by 2022.

Expect to see several PHEVs coming from FCA soon. They currently build the only PHEV minivan (the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV) available in the United States and they have a 2-liter Wrangler with the e-Torque mild hybrid system now arriving at dealerships. They look like they are serious about electrification.

Once again, it was nice meeting you!

Cheers,

N

Here’s the Jeep Wrangler with the e-torque system!

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: asknathan@tflcar.com.

Nathan Adlen
Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.