This year’s Moab Easter Jeep Safari, held between March 27 to April 4 saw an interesting concept from the brand – the Jeep Magneto – a battery electric vehicle concept based on a 2020 Wrangler Rubicon. According to Mark Allen, head of Jeep’s design studio, this may mature into a Jeep Wrangler electric in showroom floors of your nearest Jeep dealer in the following years.
While it is no secret that an electric Jeep is in the works, the Magneto perhaps gives some insight into what the final product would be or rather would not be like. Allen told The Detroit News that Jeep would take the Magneto to Moab (a natural testing ground for Jeep) over the next three years to make changes along the way. He hinted that the production model (Jeep Wrangler electric) would be done in a different way, and teased the possibility of the production version looking quite different from the Magneto.
Allen said the Magneto would also be used to gauge reaction from Jeep enthusiasts. One of the main concern among Jeep enthusiasts is the charging infrastructure during long camping trips, which Jeep seems dedicated to solve using solar powered charging stations which are coming up at its Badge of Honor trails at Moab and Rubicon Trail in California.
The whole reason for doing this (Magneto concept) was just to see what does a battery electric Jeep do in the off-road environment of Moab. Magneto is set to be a test bed for us to answer those questions that we have curiosities about.Mark Allen, Head of Jeep Design
The Magneto uses a custom-built axial flux electric motor that operates up to 6,000 rpm, in combination with four battery packs with a combined power of 70 kWh, running an 800-volt system. The e-motor features a 6-speed MT with regen available during clutch engagement.
The performance of the Magneto is comparable to the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, says Jeep. The e-motor is tuned to deliver up to 273 lb.-ft. (370 Nm) of torque and 285 horsepower with 0-60 mph (100 km/h) coming up in 6.8 seconds.
The Li-ion batteries are distributed around the Wrangler to balance weight on the four wheels. One pack replaces the Wrangler’s fuel tank, another is mounted opposite the fuel tank location, the third pack sits on top of the e-motor and the fourth in the space normally used for a rear storage compartment.
Until the introduction of the Jeep Wrangler electric, environmentally conscious Jeep enthusiasts will have to contend with the Wrangler 4xe, Jeep’s first PHEV in North America, which starts at USD 47,995.