This week, Jeep unveiled the Magneto, an all-electric concept version of its classic Jeep Wrangler. An electrified SUV is nothing new. Automakers ranging from Audi to Volvo have been selling them for years. What makes the Jeep Magneto stand out is its pairing of an EV drive system with the iconic Wrangler’s signature off-roading capability and carefree, top-down, doors-off attitude. Furthermore, it suggests that the Wrangler may fully join the electric vehicle revolution beyond the new 4xe plug-in hybrid variant arriving in showrooms this year.
Unveiled in advance of the 2021 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, the Jeep Magneto concept is based on a 2-door Wrangler Rubicon. It features a custom-built axial flux electric motor drawing power from four separate lithium-ion battery packs supplying a combined 70 kWh of electricity.
Producing up to 285 horsepower and 273 lb.-ft. of torque, the Magneto’s electric motor performs similar to the Wrangler’s standard 3.6-liter V6 engine, according to Jeep. However, Jeep claims a Magneto will accelerate to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, quicker than the V6.
Jeep equips the Magneto with a 6-speed manual transmission, complete with a clutch. This transmission type gives a driver more control, particularly at low-speeds, making it a popular choice for avid off-roaders. Jeep says the Magneto does not require clutch engagement for first gear and reportedly will never stall.
Given its battery power, the Magneto should provide 210 miles of driving range, though Jeep has not offered an official estimate. Last year, Jeep initially projected that its plug-in hybrid Wrangler 4xe would run for 25 miles on electric power alone. Official EPA estimates disagree, saying the 4xe is capable of 21 miles of pure electric driving.
Jeep arranges the four battery packs to balance the added weight and to preserve off-road performance. The company also protects the batteries from damage with waterproof enclosures, custom battery mounts, and skid plates. Jeep says the Magneto retains the Wrangler’s capability to traverse 30 inches of standing water. To further enhance its off-road capability, the Jeep Magneto includes a 2-inch lift kit, a custom roll cage, 35-inch tires, and a steel belly pan.
Of course, this is a concept vehicle. Whether or not Jeep will produce something like the Magneto is unclear. However, the Magneto’s existence indicates that Jeep is exploring its options for an electrified future, which bodes well for all consumers, especially the environmentally responsible 4WD enthusiast.