Jeep has some concept car tricks up its proverbial sleeves for the 2021 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, which kicks off March 27. Specifically, the brand plans to reveal an electric variant of its iconic Wrangler, which may go by the name “Magneto” after earlier being referred to by the rather uncreative name of the Wrangler BEV—or battery-electric vehicle—concept.
Likely one of the many concept vehicles Jeep will presumably bring to the annual off-roading event—or in this age of coronavirus, perhaps just digitally reveal around the event—the Magneto/Wrangler BEV builds upon the 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid. Unlike the Wrangler 4xe, which relies on a pair of electric motors and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine for motivation, the Wrangler BEV concept sheds the gas engine from the equation and carries more batteries.
Just how many motors the Magneto concept employs remains a bit of a mystery. A cutaway of the concept reveals a traditional-looking gearbox and transfer case, the combination of which sends power from the powertrain to the front and rear axles. In other words, the Wrangler BEV concept does not appear to utilize individual front and rear motors as is common among all-wheel-drive electric vehicles, including the upcoming 2022 GMC Hummer EV. Then again, we aren’t sure it’d make sense to package electric motors physically on the Jeep’s solid axles—that’d be a lot of unsprung mass, and, well, the axles would be huge.
A teaser image of the electric Wrangler concept shows few external differences between it and its gas, diesel, and gasoline-electric Wrangler counterparts. The most notable alteration seems to be the BEV’s seven-slot grille, which appears to lack any formal openings and possibly features distinct lighting elements. Likewise, the teaser image looks to show the BEV concept uses the Wrangler’s long-wheelbase four-door body style as a base, which makes sense given the physical size of the concept’s electric bits.
We are as much in the dark about the details of the Wrangler BEV concept as the SUV itself is in the leading teaser image. Expect Jeep to share more details about its electric Wrangler concept in the days leading up to the Easter Jeep Safari.