Jeep will be making some noise in Moab with a silent SUV.
The Jeep Wrangler Magneto concept is an all-electric version of the venerable 4×4 that will make its debut at the Easter Jeep Safari off-road event in Utah starting March 27.
The Magneto is based on the Wrangler Rubicon, but has had its V6 engine replaced by an electric motor with an identical 285 horsepower that connects to the standard six-speed manual transmission and four-wheel-drive system.
The motor has been tuned to deliver its power in a similar fashion to the V6 to keep things familiar when negotiating tough terrain, but can also provide its maximum 273 lb-ft of torque in an instant whenever the driver floors the accelerator.
The setup is different than most purpose-built electric vehicles, which do without transmissions and let the electric motors drive the wheels directly, but has been used in electric conversions of various classic cars.
The motor draws its energy from four battery packs with a combined storage capacity of 70 kilowatt-hours that have been installed on top of the motor, under the vehicle where the fuel tank usually is and in the cargo compartment. The system can also be used to provide on-site power to external electrical equipment.
Jeep hasn’t announced plans to put the Magneto’s drivetrain into production, but will be doing engineering tests at the event, where it will also inaugurate the first of a network of solar-powered charging stations it is installing at popular off-road destinations.
However, deliveries of the 2021 Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid are currently underway. The model pairs a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and electric motor to provide 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque and has a combined fuel economy rating equivalent to 49 mpg in typical use. It can also be driven up to 21 miles in all-electric mode on demand.
Along with the futuristic Wrangler Magneto, Jeep is also bringing several other concepts to Moab including the Jeepster Beach, which is a 1968 Jeep Commando with a modern Wrangler 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine tuned to deliver 340 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, 8-speed automatic transmission and 4:1 transfer case. The Beach also features a carpetless sand-friendly interior to help it live up to its name.