It's only a matter of time before the US lineup is comprised of EVs and plug-in hybrids only.
Automotive conglomerate Stellantis has big plans for the electric future. The multinational recently announced it will spend $2.5 billion on a US-based EV battery plant. In Europe, things are progressing even quicker. Several of the company's brands will shift to EV-only, with Lancia promising to switch over to battery propulsion by 2026.
Vauxhall has made a similar promise and it appears Fiat is heading in the same direction. The British subsidiary of the Italian automaker announced it will only sell electrified vehicles in the UK. It seems the iconic Jeep brand is heading that way too - In Europe, at least.
Company CEO Christian Meunier told Automotive News about Jeep's electric ambitions on the continent. He said the SUV brand intends to stop selling ICE-powered vehicles in the majority of European markets and hopes to offer an extensive range of hybrids instead.
This new strategy forms part of Stellantis' bigger plan to achieve 100% BEV passenger car sales in Europe. A fully-electric model will arrive in 2023, to bolster a lineup that currently includes the Grand Cherokee 4xe. It's not entirely clear when the all-electric model will reach the USA, which remains the company's biggest market.
With a claimed EV range of 25 miles, Jeep says its electrified SUV has already completed the Rubicon trail on battery power alone. Electric power or not, Jeeps need to be able to usher their adventurous owners into the wilderness and back without fear of running out of charge.
Meunier added, "Our perspective is you're going to be able to do the Rubicon Trail and have another 100 miles at the end of the Rubicon to go to a charging station...that's what we need to be able to do, and I think we can do it with a BEV."
Jeep owners who regularly venture off the beaten track may have noticed the automaker's various charging stations which are slowly appearing at certain off-roading trails. This is part of Jeep's goal to support future EVs and current plug-in hybrid off-roaders.
Still, there's a lot of work to be done. In terms of electrification, European goals are far ahead of local sales targets. Stellantis is aiming to have EVs account for half its sales in North America by 2030. With regards to Jeep, Meunier notes Jeep's transition is "happening really fast with our vision to zero-emission freedom, which is our guiding principle for the brand."
He added that Jeep is "in the middle of a big transformation that will shape [the] brand in the next 20 years." Will traditional customers embrace the idea of a fully-electric Jeep? Only time will tell, but a battery-powered off-roader could be ideal - we've seen what the Rivian R1T is capable of.