Jeep's delightful electric off-roader will hit the scene in 2024.
The Jeep Wrangler is one of the most iconic off-roaders money can buy. With a penchant for climbing every mountain and fording every stream, the retro-styled brute enjoys great popularity with adventure-minded consumers across the world. But as the automotive landscape tilts toward full electrification, even the Wrangler 4xe Hybrid is an endangered species.
Cue the Recon, Jeep's all-electric Wrangler alternative. Designed from the start to be a battery-powered off-roader, the newcomer is one of several new electrified offerings from the Toledo-based brand. But don't think for one moment that the Recon is not a true off-roader - the automaker has gone to great lengths to ensure it's as good as the Wrangler on the rough stuff.
Let's begin with the styling. Instantly recognizable as a Jeep, the Recon blends old-school design with modern touches, making for a futuristic yet brutish SUV. Similar in size to the Wrangler, the number one priority Jeep had with the electric newcomer was serious off-roading capabilities. As such, there's plenty of ground clearance and markedly short overhangs at the front and rear.
Chief Design Officer, Ralph Gilles, notes the Recon was "designed to put a smile on your face," but also wanted Recon buyers to experience the true outdoor nature of a Jeep.
The Wrangler-aping exterior should be no surprise, as the Recon was designed by the same studio responsible for its ICE sibling. Because it wants to occupy a similar segment, it also retained the Wrangler's external door hinges, making it easier to remove the doors entirely; it's a Jeep thing. Additionally, a power-operated soft-top roof stows away at the touch of a button to fully expose you to the elements.
Naturally, Jeep will offer a bevy of accessories (style-enhancing and otherwise) when the midsized Recon is launched.
Despite the lack of a traditional gas-powered engine, Jeep has engineered the Recon to take on the toughest terrain possible. To make everything that bit easier, the EV boasts Jeep Selec-Terrain traction management, under-body protection, e-locker axle technology, tow hooks, and chunky off-road rubber.
Jeep CEO, Christian Meunier, is confident in its talents. "The all-new, all-electric Jeep Recon [can] cross the mighty Rubicon Trail, one of the most challenging off-road trails in the US, and reach the end of the trail with enough range to drive back to town and recharge."
Earlier this year, the chief executive stated that electric Jeeps have to be capable of obliterating the Rubicon Trail and still have enough juice to head home. "That's what we need to be able to do, and I think we can do it with a BEV," he said.
There's no word yet on the expected range and performance figures, but we're guessing it will have to get close to the ICE-powered Wrangler to remain competitive. What we do know, however, is that the Recon will be based upon the same STLA Large architecture used to underpin the new Wagoneer S, another new offering revealed at the 4xe Day celebrations. That model has up to 600 hp, but we suspect the Recon will make do with less than that.
Jeep has said the rugged EV will also utilize the same battery and suspension setup as its fellow electric sibling. With no engine up front, the Recon should prove more practical than the Wrangler, thanks to the usable frunk. Another handy feature is the next-generation Uconnect system, which promises to provide detailed guides of the best off-road trails.
"The models we revealed today showcase how the combination of electrification and technology enhances our legendary 4x4 capability. We plan to lead the charge into the future," added Meunier.
When can we expect the Recon to hit the road? Jeep says the electric SUV will be built in the United States, with a North American introduction slated for 2024. Soon after, it will be introduced to the European market, as well as several other regions. Reservations are expected to open up as early as next year.
So, where does this leave the Wrangler? Traditionalists can rest easy - the electric alternative is not a replacement for Jeep's icon or the 4xe model (which is the country's best-selling plug-in hybrid). As such, the Wrangler will retain its status as the halo off-roading model, while the Recon will be aimed at those with a love for off-roading and sustainability.
But that doesn't mean it will stick around forever. Jeep hopes to lead the electric off-roader field and, by the end of 2025, will offer a fully-electrified range of vehicles.