Jeep is expected to launch a plug-in hybrid variant of the Wrangler in US by the end of this year and if it comes to India, it will be in 2021 via the CBU route.
Last year, at the LA Auto Show, Jeep had announced that they would be launching a plug-in hybrid variant of the Wrangler. However, since then, Jeep hasn’t spoken much about the Wrangler plug-in hybrid but it has been spotted several times testing at Jeep’s US-based test facility since March. It is expected to arrive in the US market later this year.
Here in India, Jeep just launched the all-new Wrangler a couple of months ago. It is imported to the country as a completely built unit. Jeep could thus bring the Wrangler PHEV to India sometime in 2021 as well. Like all other cars, this hardcore off-roader too would have had to adopt electrification at some point in time. So even Jeep set out to explore as to what it could do with batteries in the iconic Wrangler.
Most of the plug-in hybrid hardware for the Wrangler will come from the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. The Wrangler PHEV will likely feature a 16kWh battery paired with the 3.6-litre petrol V6 engine. The drivetrain of the Chrysler Pacifica is slightly different though as its Pentastar V6 is modified to run on the Atkinson cycle, running higher compression with strengthened pistons, valves, and camshafts.
In the Pacifica, a 120-volt wall charger can fully charge the batteries in 14 hours while a 240-volt, 30-amp circuit will do it in just about two hours. The Pacifa has a tested all-electric range of 48 km but in the Wrangler, the electric range is expected to be somewhat around 40 km. Jeep has said that the electrification tech will sit between the transmission and the heat engine.
The hybrid setup will certainly give more efficiency and more torque to the Wrangler. There’s also a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine which Jeep would have anyway updated for better economy and lower emissions but a plug-in hybrid variant widens the scope of the Wrangler.
In India however, CBU vehicles are taxed very heavily and if the Wrangler PHEV comes as a CBU, it will be expensive. The Jeep Wrangler with the 2.0-Liter diesel engine already has an ex-showroom price of Rs. 63.94 lakhs. If the Wrangler PHEV is imported under the 2,500-car import rule and if it enjoys some tax benefits on account of being a plug-in hybrid along with lowered GST rates, it might as well have some chance in the Indian market.