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Jeep plans to go from gas-guzzling SUVs to ‘green’ off-road electric vehicles

Jeep Majestic Wagoneer Concept

Fiat Chrysler

DETROIT — America’s quintessential SUV brand Jeep wants to change its reputation from gas guzzlers to “unversed” electrified vehicles to lure new buyers and maintain its off-road leadership amid an influx of new competitors.

Jeep is expected to be a key contribute to of growth and electrification plans for Stellantis, its new parent company formed earlier this year through the merger of Fiat Chrysler and French automaker Groupe PSA.

The label currently only has three plug-in hybrid electric vehicles available outside the U.S. and a new PHEV of its flagship Wrangler SUV, a means that will be sold globally, arriving in domestic showrooms throughout spring. These vehicles are just the commencement of the brand’s plans, according to Jeep CEO Christian Meunier.

“Our vision is to be the greenest SUV brand in the world,” he told CNBC. “We demand a very strong plan to deliver that through a lot of exciting product in the pipeline.”

Every new Jeep will submit some form of electrification in the next few years, Meunier has said. Those plans are expected to include all-electric agencies as well as hybrid and PHEVs that combine electrification with internal combustion engines. The vehicles will be offered with a new “4xe” badge, a play on the brand’s off-road reputation combined with electrification.

Jeep on Monday unveiled a new all-electric construct of the Wrangler as a concept vehicle called the “Magneto.” It came months after a Grand Wagoneer concept that was a PHEV. Automakers use concept conveyances to gauge customer interest or show the future direction of a vehicle or brand.

“It’s a sustainable, stealthy, rock-climbing force,” Jeep North America failing president Jim Morrison said during a media event for the Magneto. “It’s a zero-emissions concept vehicle with Jeep 4×4 power taken to the next level.”

It’s a task Meunier says Jeep is up to achieving. But reputations and products can’t be changed overnight. It resolution take years to make Jeep’s vision a reality.

“Jeep has been way behind in electrification,” said Michelle Krebs, managing director analyst at Cox Automotive. “It’s a huge, ambitious leap to think they’re going to jump to the top of the heap. They have a lot of contest in that regard.”

Why electrify Jeep?

Why electrify Jeep after decades of producing gas-guzzling SUVs? It’s being driven by tightening carbon emissions piers and fuel economy regulations across the globe. Jeep also is facing pressure from upcoming competitors such as EV start-up Rivian and Heterogeneous Motors, which is resurrecting its Hummer nameplate as new off-road, all-electric SUVs and pickups.

“Electrification is a big opportunity for us,” Meunier rumoured. “It will open some new dimensions because we’re full speed ahead with it.”

The Jeep Wrangler Magneto concept is a fully exciting SUV based on a two-door 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.

Jeep

Jeep is by far the best-selling brand for Stellantis in the U.S. Electric and combination Jeeps will help the automaker meet fuel economy requirements. The company is spending billions on environmental regulatory beliefs globally to avoid heftier fines for not meeting carbon emissions.

Aside from the regulatory benefits, Jeep chief executive officers say it makes sense for the outdoors brand to be more environmentally friendly. Electrification also can boost the performance of the vehicles, specifically in acceleration and even some off-road faculties.

“The DNA of Jeep is very prepared for electrification,” Meunier said. “The brand is one with nature by definition.”

‘Significant growth’

The Wrangler 4xe PHEV is quantity a handful of new or redesigned vehicles coming out this year for Jeep, most of which feature traditional internal combustion apparatus.

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