"A full plug-in electric Jeep Wrangler will be available in 2020, furthering our commitment to all those who value the responsible, sustainable enjoyment of the great outdoors and very importantly, future proofing this Wrangler for generations to come," he said after the reveal of the 2018 model.
It was reminiscent of a Steve Jobs 'One More Thing' moment from an Apple event. Manley explained the details of the new Wrangler, codenamed JL, and then dropped the EV nugget near the end of the press conference in Los Angeles. He didn't offer up further details like range or power.
The plug-in hybrid will join a now-expansive powertrain lineup for new generation of the Wrangler. Jeep will offer a mild hybrid next year with its 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine. Called eTorque, the hybrid adds regeneration, stop-start and electric power assist. This system makes 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. In 2019, the Wrangler will get a 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel engine rated at 260 hp and 442 lb-ft. The tried-and-true Pentastar V6 with 285 hp and 260 lb-ft also continues.
In an exclusive interview with Autoblog in January, Manley previewed the Wrangler's electric plans at the Detroit Auto Show. "The hybridization could actually help Wrangler," he said, noting it could improve torque distribution, a critical element for four-wheel drive vehicles." He added, "Electrification, absolutely. I could see Wrangler being a form of electric."
The 2018 Wrangler goes on sale in January featuring a raft of improvements. It is about 200 pounds lighter thanks to the use of aluminum. There are also new engines, updated styling features and a nicer interior.