Jeep will sell an all-electric competitor to its rugged Wrangler in 2024, but it won’t be an electric Wrangler – it will be called Recon.
“The all-electric Jeep Recon aims to deliver authentic Jeep-brand open-air freedom with fully removable doors and windows,” said Stellantis chief designer Ralph Gilles. “It was absolutely inspired by the Wrangler, which is the king of our portfolio of vehicles and will always lead the charge.”
In other words, Jeep doesn’t want to risk upsetting the legions of fans for the iconic Wrangler and its extreme off-road abilities, but it needs to bring an all-electric off-roader to market. Few details were provided at a virtual news conference this week, but Gilles did add that “the design brief was to make it as capable as possible. It is just dripping with Wrangler goodness.”
The Recon will feature a Selec-Terrain traction-management system, e-locker axle technology, and under-body protection, as well as tow hooks and aggressive, knobby tires. It will include a removable roof and doors.
“The whole vehicle is really designed around approach and departure, No. 1 – getting those bumpers to be out there, on purpose, protecting the vehicle, but snubbing the overhangs,” said Gilles. “One thing we don’t talk about enough is the presence when you sit inside a vehicle: the windows are oversized on purpose so you can really enjoy nature.”
No expected driving range was provided for the Recon, but Jeep brand chief executive officer Christian Meunier said “it will be able to complete the Rubicon Trail and still have significant range to reach the next charging station.”
The tough Rubicon Trail is 35 kilometres long, beginning at an isolated community in the California mountains, and leads east almost to Lake Tahoe, where there will be charging stations within a 30-kilometre drive along the shoreline. If the Recon is driven from Lake Tahoe on public roads to the western end of the Rubicon Trail, the total clockwise loop back to the start will be almost 200 kilometres.
“We’re also working on a project with solar charging stations that we will have delivered at our Badge of Honour trails across the United States, and hopefully in Canada we will do the same,” said Meunier.
He also announced that an all-electric Jeep Wagoneer S will come to North America in 2024, with 600 horsepower and an estimated driving range of 640 kilometres. In Europe, there will be an all-new, all-electric subcompact SUV called the Jeep Avenger, which will be a size smaller than the current Renegade. It will be built in Poland and will not be brought to North America.
Both the Wagoneer S, which will be a mid-sized premium SUV, and the Recon will be built in North America, but Meunier did not say if the assembly would be in the United States, Mexico or Canada. “It does make a lot of sense to use the Ontario LG plant, the joint venture we’re working on, but I’m not going to make any announcements beyond that,” said Jim Morrison, head of Jeep brand for North America.
Stellantis, which owns the Jeep brand alongside Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat and other nameplates, announced this summer it was partnering with LG Energy Solution to build a $5-billion lithium-ion battery plant in Windsor, Ont.
The three new all-electric vehicles announced this week will be joined by two more all-electric vehicles in North America by 2025, said Meunier, as well as one more EV in Europe, though he gave no further details. The Jeep brand has been expanding rapidly outside North America in the last decade. In Europe, he said its largest market is Italy. The Avenger was designed at Stellantis’s Turin studio.
“In 2009, we were selling 300,000 Jeeps in the world, and 90 per cent of that was coming from the U.S. and Canada,” said Meunier. “In the last five years, we’ve been selling between 1.2 and 1.5 million (Jeep vehicles), and 60 per cent is coming from North America.”
By the end of this decade, he said half of Jeep’s sales in North America and all of its sales in Europe will be fully electric vehicles.