Jeep aims to show that electric vehicles can be more than just sedans with a new concept based on its classic Cowboy 4×4, Autoblog reported. The Wrangler Magneto looks like a regular petrol Wrangler Rubicon model, but it is powered by a battery and a very unusual electric transmission that might appeal to off-road enthusiasts.
In order to run the electrification in a regular Wrangler body, Jeep could not place the electric motors directly on the axles as one usually would. Instead, he put the engine (an axial flow model) under the hood to power a regular Wrangler transmission, with some upgrades including a two-speed transfer case and a six-speed manual transmission.
They matched the electric motor and torque to the Wrangler’s regular Pentastar V6 engine, so it delivers roughly the same output of 285 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. However, maximum torque arrives much faster (but not instantly), allowing acceleration from 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. It might sound a bit slow, but with four batteries powering the 800-volt electrical system and most ICE transmissions still in place, it weighs 5,750 pounds – about 1,750 pounds more than a regular two-door Wrangler.
Keeping the horsepower specifications roughly the same, the Magneto can also be used like a regular Wrangler. The only difference is that you can crank and shift first without the clutch, as the engine is idling at 0 RPM. You have to engage the clutch between gears, but it apparently uses regeneration to make shifting easier.
Jeep launched this very unusual off-roader at its annual Easter Jeep Safari event. It is not just a one-off concept, but rather a test bed. As such, the automaker plans to test it in several future safaris to see how it can handle real 4×4 conditions. It remains to be seen whether this rather distant idea will ever be produced.