It needs to be a true off-roader, regardless of how it is powered.
Putting an electric hybrid car together isn't as easy as simply strapping a battery pack to the floor. It's a design and development process that takes many hours and notable capital investments. Brands that have declared that they will transition their product line into fully electric vehicles understand this well, which is why we have seen some of the biggest names set billions of dollars aside for this expansive and intimidating venture.
One of the newcomers to the EV race is Jeep thanks to investments being made by the Stellantis group. Already, we have been given a generous look at its first all-electric product which we can expect to make a market launch by 2023. Until then, the company currently offers the Jeep Wrangler 4xe and will be shortly joined by the Grand Cherokee 4xe when it launches this spring.
Speaking to Automotive News, Jeep boss Jim Morrison explains that when it came to the Cherokee, the design and development team needed to take its time with ensuring that the product would be a true off-roader, despite the additional weight of the electric system. Thanks to the success of the Wrangler 4xe, the brand understands that the demand for a PHEV with off-roading capabilities is present.
Morrison explains, "It took us a little longer time to market with it because it needed to be a real Jeep first. It needed to have really good four-wheel-drive capability because you couldn't put the Jeep badge on it and have it be a really good plug-in hybrid without being a really good Jeep first."
Morrison also says that the Wrangler 4xe has been a great market research tool that has allowed the company to refine its future electrified products to suit the needs of its customers. So far, he notes that it has been attracting younger and more educated clients with a love for the outdoors. He anticipates that the Grand Cherokee 4xe will replicate and expand this buying trend.
He adds, "It's sometimes demographics and sometimes it's psychographics and attitude. It's the Jeep thing and the connection to the outdoors. As we look to evolve 4xe technology into 4xe being the next 4x4, what's natural for us is the instant connection to freedom and adventure."
The bottom line? Future Jeeps, whether full-electrics or not, will still be engineered to be the best off-road companions that they can be.