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New Jeep Wrangler could get hybrid tech | Auto Express

Jeep boss says all-new 2017 Wrangler off-roader could feature hybrid powertrain

Jeep has admitted that it is considering hybrid technology as it prepares an all-new Wrangler for 2017.

The US off-road brand faces a similar task to Land Rover, which is readying a new Defender, in that it has to update its most famous model without threatening its iconic status.

Jeep boss Mike Manley told Auto Express that preserving the look, improving the on-road dynamics and achieving better fuel efficiency were his three priorities for the new version of the off-road legend.


“You have the potential for hybrid powertrains in the future,” he admitted.

“For those people who use the Wrangler, the most important thing is the initial torque and the crawl ratio.

“With an electric motor you have the most torque available and with the right combination of transmission and gear ratios you can create incredible crawl ratios.”

But the eco tech wouldn’t be without its problems if Jeep does go down that route. Continued Manley: “Where you have to be careful with the Wrangler is range.

“If you are eight hours and four miles into a trail, there is not a hybrid that we could do which could provide the battery support.

“The way that combination is calibrated would be more unique for a Wrangler than it would, for example, a Grand Cherokee.”

Other solutions being considered for the new Wrangler are diesel power for US models, lighter materials and aerodynamic upgrades.

Confirmed Manley: “The use of aluminium and high-strength steel is huge for us. There is opportunity for carbon fibre as well.

“You will see more advanced technologies used than on the current vehicle, as it needs to be more capable than the previous one.

“And from styling point of view we have to be very careful – if we styled a Wrangler that didn’t look like a Wrangler, I would have to have eight security guards!”

Despite being able to trace its origins back to the military Jeep of the second world war, 213g/km emissions from its 2.8-litre engine and poor fuel economy, the Wrangler has never been more popular.

Sales have risen from 140,000 in 2009 to 246,000 in 2014 and Manley knows there is massive interest in what he has planned next. And he admits it is not guaranteed that he will follow Land Rover’s route of testing its ideas out for the Defender with concepts.

“You may see concepts before then to shift perception, or we may do it a different way,” he said.

“We are a social brand. I already have a community of 2,000 advocates that I use regularly to get feedback - whether it’s a name or a feature or a function. It’s proven to be relatively reliable.”
 

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Had a feeling this would happen, we're at the stage of the industry where there's big growth in the amount of hybrids coming to market, Jeep scooping up a portion of that audience will serve them well especially as they start to bring out other hybrid models.
 

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I don't see an issue with a hybrid's range as long as you keep a can of gas handy if you know you're going on long trips. When the battery runs low the JL should switch to gas and charge the battery while you drive. I would actually prefer the hybrid over pure petrol.
 

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It is a smart move but I also know that FCA doesn't have very good hybrid tech at their disposal. Whatever they do is going to end up being a bit on a new endeavour. The extra torque should make for a great off road vehicle though. I support.
 

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they could do the battery support if they used regen tech... Imagine an off road suspension with regen capabilities, what kind of energy could you produce under articulation??
 

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That makes even more sense as with the inclines and the rough terrain it would have to go over... it could pull more electric power, anywhere to regen is going to put them in a good place.
 

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You're talking about regenerative braking right? It's useful depending on the off road terrain and how often you'll need to apply the brakes.
 

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You're talking about regenerative braking right? It's useful depending on the off road terrain and how often you'll need to apply the brakes.
Yes.

It's useful period. We need ways to get power back into those batteries aside from having to rely on just charging.

Even in the city it will be useful with the sort of wheel travel that happens although it's not nearly as much as on rough terrain, still something, better than nothing.
 

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I'm just sceptical because this will be FCA's first foray into hybrid tech. I hope they do a good job, but its not like I can be excited because they will be putting in a new system that has already been proven elsewhere.
 

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I'm just sceptical because this will be FCA's first foray into hybrid tech. I hope they do a good job, but its not like I can be excited because they will be putting in a new system that has already been proven elsewhere.
thats not true at all. FCA built LaFerrari ;)
 

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doubt anything similar to the LaFerrari HY-KERS system will be added to the JL but the idea of something producing even a percentage of that power in a Wrangler has me excited.
 

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doubt anything similar to the LaFerrari HY-KERS system will be added to the JL but the idea of something producing even a percentage of that power in a Wrangler has me excited.
Its not about the power... its about the expertise tying electric and combustion power together in a seamless delivery.
 

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That's one thing i've noticed to be true since people don't want to feel the transition, just want a seemless feeling from one to the other.
 

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Its not about the power... its about the expertise tying electric and combustion power together in a seamless delivery.
OK, but they would still have to come out with a brand new engine. That is fine, but we will have to see if it is all its cracked up to be, or if it has problems upon release. It really does need to be a part of FCA's plans though. That is where the industry is going and it is also a great move for off-road vehicles. Perhaps a partnership for something like this would benefit FCA.
 

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Well its not like Jeep is in need of a sales boost, although more sales is never a bad thing. FCA will surely be working to fortify the Jeep brand so that it can continue to be successful, stable and the foundation of FCA into the future. The brands that need help are everything other than Ram and Jeep.
 

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They are thinking of other solutions as well if the hybrid idea doesn't pan out. On the backup burner is a diesel engine with a lighter body and more aerodynamically designed.
Which would you guys prefer? Hybrid or Diesel?
 

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Would be great to see a percentage of that torque available to the LaFerrari at low revs in the JL.
Tuning will be able to accomplish that to an extent but probably not with the sort of impact you'll get in a setup built around performance like what the LaFerrari has.
 
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