There’s now an electric Jeep Wrangler, but don’t get too excited. It’s not headed into production.
On Monday, ahead of the annual Easter Jeep Safari event set for March 27 to April 4 in Moab, Utah, the off-road-oriented automaker unveiled a handful of concepts, and the headliner was an all-electric Wrangler.
Magneto electric Wrangler
The Magneto was created to test the possibilities of an all-electric Wrangler, and it was built as a retro-fit Wrangler Rubicon. The gasoline powertrain was ripped out and replaced with a custom-built axial flux electric motor tuned to produce the same 285 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque as the Wrangler’s standard 3.6-liter V-6.
Surprisingly, the electric motor is hooked to a 6-speed manual transmission that requires the driver to use the clutch to select gears. Off road, the gears provide greater control of power delivery and drivers can also use just the brake and throttle according to Jeep head of design, Mark Allen. With no torque converter and no revs, the power delivery is immediate, but the system doesn’t deliver 100% of the torque at zero rpm like in many electric cars. Instead, it has a strong, but progressive torque curve that comes on early and remains flat.
Four Wabesto air-cooled lithium-ion battery packs totaling 70 kwh power the concept SUV. One pack is located where the engine would be, another is located in the rear cargo area, and two are on the inside of each frame rail. The 800-volt battery architecture supports Level 1 and Level 2 charging, but does not have Level 3 fast-charging capability.
Jeep said the Magneto concept can do 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds, but Jeep didn’t quote an electric driving range. That’s pretty quick for 5,750 pounds.
The Magneto also has two 12-volt batteries to power auxiliary vehicle systems and accessories like the radio and winch. A DC-to-DC converter charges the 12-volt batteries.
A 2-inch lift kit, 35-inch mud-terrain tires on 17-inch wheels, a custom roll cage, Mopar rock rails, and steel bumpers with a Warn winch finish off the Magneto’s look and add to its capabilities.
Jeep said it plans to test and improve the Magneto over the next three years.
Other Easter Safari concepts
The Jeepster Beach is a restomod that started life as a 1968 Jeepster Commando (C-101). Everything beneath the bodywork was replaced with 2020 Wrangler Rubicon parts, including the frame and engine. SRT engineers gave the 2.0-liter turbo-4 a hot tune for 25% more power, which would give it about 340 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque.
With its retro design, bright gold paint, red and ivory interior, and large 35-inch Falken Wildpeak mud-terrain tires, the Jeepster Beach looks like it’s ready to seek out any beach, no matter how remote.
The Red Bare concept is a lumberjack-ready version of the Gladiator Rubicon. Under the hood is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 that makes the stock 280 hp and 442 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels, and Dana 44 front and rear axles with 4.88 ratios provide a serious 91:1 crawl ratio.
Hood and cowl pieces from the Mojave are used, and Fire Cracker red paint and matte-black graphics create an extroverted look. Inside, the Katzkin black leather seats feature red stitching and red flannel inserts, and the instrument panel sports red flannel as well.
A 2-inch lift, 17-inch wheels wrapped in 37-inch BFGoodrich mud-terrain tires, a cargo bed-mounted sport bar, and factory steel bumpers with a Warn winch finish off the Red Bare concept’s attitude and enhance its capability.
A two-door Wrangler concept dubbed Orange Peelz pays tribute to the open-air fun-and-freedom of the Jeep Wrangler lifestyle. Half doors and a removable one-piece hard top provide the open-air experience.
The 3.6-liter V-6’s 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque sends its power to all four wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission. It breathes through a cold air intake and a cat-back exhaust system.
Off-road goodies include a 2-inch lift kit, Fox shocks, “high-top” fender flares, 17-inch bead-lock capable wheels wrapped in 37-inch BFGoodrich KM3 mud-terrain tires, 5-inch off-road LED lights at the base of the A-pillars, and a windshield made out of Corning Gorilla Glass. Custom steel bumpers, a prototype 2-inch steel grille guard, and a Warn winch are bolted on up front, and it also has custom rock rails and a reinforced swing gate hinge to accommodate a larger spare tire.
Inside, the Orange Peelz concept features Jeep Performance Parts grab handles, along with plaid armrests and seat inserts.
While the above concepts are new, Jeep’s also bringing to Utah the previously shown Gladiator Farout concept, Gadiator Top Dog concept, and Wrangler 392 concept, the last of which is now being put into production to become a really expensive, thirsty Wrangler.
This article was originally published by Motor Authority, an editorial partner of ClassicCars.com.