Jeep will introduce a new electric version of the Jeep Wrangler to demonstrate their fuel efficient technology to customers. The 2010 Jeep Wrangler EV was introduced at the 2009 Detroit auto show and is expected to be a hit with customers in that segment when it comes out as a 2010 model year vehicle.
The 2010 Jeep Wrangler EV will not be the first electric Jeep, but it is supposed to be more advanced than the DJ-5e. Most automakers are using small, fuel-efficient compact cars as platforms to introduce their extended-range electric vehicles (EERVs). However, Chrysler has chosen a minivan and the body-on-frame Wrangler to demonstrate and introduce their technology on.
Chrysler is using the two-wheel-drive model for the EV, and it is expected that the fuel economy gains for the EV model will be quite substantial over the base Wrangler vehicle. Chrysler claims that EV will achieve 40 miles per gallon fuel economy. The current two-wheel-drive Wrangler achieves around 20 miles per gallon.
Similar to other EERVs that are in the market, the 2010 Jeep Wrangler EV will run its electric motor as long as the lithium-ion batteries hold a charge. When the batteries are out of charge, the internal-combustion engine will act as a generator to both the batteries and the electric motor. The engine will not directly drive the rear wheels. Chrysler says the batteries can power the 268 horsepower, 295 lb-ft engine 40 miles on a single charge. During these 40 miles, the vehicle will have zero emissions and no fuel consumption.
The 2010 Jeep Wrangler EV is only available as a two-wheel drive vehicle and will be similar to the current Jeep Wrangler Unlimited in terms of styling. Many in the industry believe that Jeep customers would actually prefer a four-wheel-drive Wrangler. Chrysler has said that they are working on it, but it will not be available until the 2011-13 timeframe.
As other automotive manufacturers are using smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles as donors for their EERVs, Chrysler is going a different route and using the Jeep Wrangler as the vehicle that they will introduce their latest electric offering on in 2010. The new vehicle is expected to be a hit with customers especially if Chrysler delivers on the fuel economy predictions.