And it actually has more benefits than drawbacks.
If you think about why an electric off-roader wouldn't work, your concerns likely stem from range anxiety and fixing things on the fly. If you think about why it would work well, attention turns to the instantly available masses of torque and fewer moving parts. Jeep head of design, Mark Allen, only sees a bright side to an electric Jeep Wrangler and says it could be even better than the model on sale today. With the leaps and bounds made in improving battery tech over the last 15 years or so, we're beginning to agree with the man. This isn't Jeep's first shot at electric propulsion on a Wrangler, but the future looks a lot brighter for a pure EV than the original hybrid Wrangler we saw a decade ago and the currently available mild-hybrid setup on some models.
Speaking with CarAdvice, Allen said: "Well, I mean, the power is delivered now to all four wheels," he said. "There's a central power source, and then through mechanics, we spread that power to all four wheels. If we did an electric vehicle, you'd have the ability to control each wheel's speed and direction individually. That's huge. That's a big deal for maneuverability and off-road traction. The possibilities open up for us rather than close down." We saw recently how an electric Cobra Jet Mustang could change drag racing forever, but what if the same is true of electric off-roaders? The possibilities are endless and while motor racing enjoyment will suffer from a lack of mechanical noises, off-roading wouldn't.
Off-roading is all about ability, not drama, and Allen believes that fans of the Wrangler will fully embrace electrification if it makes the vehicle even better. While we don't know exactly when such a machine could be seen cruising on public roads and clambering over enormous boulders, the thought of adventure in a vehicle that can offer far more torque than today's gas engines is an exciting prospect. In the meantime, a new range of hybrid Wranglers will soon start pushing us towards a greener off-roading future. That future is coming whether we like it or not, but it's surely encouraging to know that, no matter what, brands like Jeep will continue to cater to the enthusiast.