There’s no doubt that the North American-based marques of former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles were lagging behind in the transition to electrification under the leadership of the late Sergio Marchionne. The situation has been cited as a motivating factor for the merger with France’s PSA which created Stellantis. But once the wheels were in motion, newly formed Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares wasted little time laying out an aggressive plan to go electric this decade. Since then, we’ve seen the unveiling of the Chrysler Airflow and Dodge Charger Daytona EV concepts and teaser images for the Ram 1500 EV. Now it’s Jeep’s turn.
4xe is the new 4×4
Jeep CEO Christian Meunier previously promised that by 2025 the brand would offer “zero-emission” options in all of its SUV market segments. However, it is important to remember that legally “zero emissions” does not necessarily mean zero emissions all the time, but at least some of the time.
The plan is to have battery-electric variants of all Jeep models by 2030. By the end of the decade, all new Jeeps sold in Europe will run exclusively on electrons, while half of sales in North America are expected to be purely electric. Meunier often repeated, “4xe is the new 4×4,” underscoring the brand’s commitment to producing electrified vehicles that deliver traditional Jeep performance.
Initially, there will be four Jeep all-electric models on sale in 2025 in Europe and North America. However, they won’t be exactly the same four-car in both markets, although there is overlap. The Europe-only Avenger leads the EV charge in 2023, but here in North America we’ll have to wait until 2024 to get our first two electric Jeeps. The first is called Recon.
Jeep Recon: A fully realized off-road vehicle
For the past two years, Jeep has unveiled a battery-powered Wrangler concept called the Magneto as part of its Easter Safari concept, but has been slow to confirm when — and if — it might go into production. While that story simmers, the all-new Recon EV is here to offer a new version of the open-air freedom that the Wrangler is all about.
Designed by Mark Allen, Jeep Head of Design, who is also responsible for the latest Wrangler, the Recon is about the same overall size as a Wrangler Unlimited four-door. But, remarkably, the Recon pulls off the tricky trick of capturing the Wrangler’s vibe without outright hacking its style. The Squint and its profile vaguely resemble a cross between a new Ford Bronco and Land Rover Defender but remain distinctly and unmistakably a Jeep. Like the Wrangler, the Recon features removable doors and rear windows, and the same Sky one-touch sunroof available on the current Wrangler four-door.
The shape of the Wrangler, with its relatively narrow body and large fenders, traces its roots back more than 80 years and remains an identifying feature that draws many customers to that vehicle. But that also means the Wrangler is pretty tight inside for passengers despite years of growth.
The Recon – possibly due to the need to make room for a battery pack under the floor – pushes that body to the edge. Combined with the flat floor and the windscreen and bulkhead pushed forward, it should make it much more spacious inside and better suited for families. During a presentation, design chief Ralph Gilles mentioned that the Recon has a front trunk, although, with the relatively short front, we don’t feel it’s big enough to store the removable doors.
The Jeep Recon is a Rubicon-Ready EV
As with any real Jeep, the Recon will be track-rated. Jim Morrison, head of Jeep Brand North America, says, “it will be Rubicon Trail ready right out of the gutter.” It will have Selec Terrain Mode Control for various surface conditions and electronic locking differentials. There’s no mention of whether it would retain the manual transmission used on the Magneto concept, but it probably won’t.
Jeepers being Jeepers, Morrison says a full line of factory Jeep Performance Parts accessories will accompany the Recon at launch and expects the aftermarket to roll out in time.
Morrison also indicated that the Recon is not a replacement for the Wrangler, so it sounds like an electric version of the brand icon is still coming; there’s just no indication of when that will be. However, the Recon is scheduled to launch in 2024.
Jeep Wagoneer S EV
The third of this first batch of electric Jeeps is the Wagoneer S, of which Ralph Gilles, design director, says the “S” stands for “speed, striking and sexy.” When Jeep relaunched the Wagoneer in 2021, they tried to establish it as a sub-brand, part of the Jeep family, but separate. This is the most premium end of the Jeep range, similar to the relationship between Range Rover and Land Rover. Unlike the cool Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer we got last year and the even longer L models coming this fall, the S is quite a bit smaller.
It’s apparently about the same size as the newest Grand Cherokee and looks a lot like it, except for the front end. Essentially, it looks like a sleeker version of the current two-row Grand Cherokee. In place of the upright seven-slot grille, there’s a shallower but three-dimensional structure with seven vertical elements and some signature lighting to give it a Jeep look.
Wagoneer S: 400-Mile Range Zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds
From the side, the rear profile also looks similar to the Grand Cherokee, but from above or behind, it’s clear that the rear glass has even more forward slope between the rear pillars, and there’s a wing over the top to control airflow. The Wagoneer S aims for a range of 400 miles and does zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds from a pair of electric motors producing 600 horsepower. That gives it similar performance to the now discontinued Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.
The Wagoneer S and Recon will be built on the same STLA Large EV architecture used for the Chrysler Airflow and Dodge Charger Daytona SRT. Other than being assembled somewhere in North America, there’s no word on where that might be, though both of Stellanti’s Canadian assembly plants in Windsor and Brampton, Ontario will be converted to electric vehicle production within the next few years.
Jeep Avenger EV for Europe
The first new electric car out of the gate is the Jeep Avenger. The Avenger is the vehicle we saw renderings of earlier this year, and it will make its in-the-metal debut at the Paris Motor Show in October.
The Avenger is smaller than the current Renegade, and unfortunately, because it’s so small, there are no plans to bring it to North America. It will go on sale in Europe in early 2023. Jeep is tight-lipped on technical details at the moment, but the Avenger aims to have a range of 400 kilometers (248 miles). But since it’s likely based on the European WLTP driving cycle, the real range is probably closer to 200 miles, which is still pretty respectable for such a small SUV.
Jeep Recon and Wagoneer S Pricing
With similar dimensions and styling, there’s an obvious risk of overlap with the Grand Cherokee, but with the Wagoneer branding, this one is likely to be quite a bit more expensive. Of course, Jeep isn’t talking about pricing for any of these EVs just yet. Still, with the Grand Cherokee 4XE plug-in hybrid maxing out at $70,000, the Wagoneer S will likely be somewhere between $80,000 to $100.00 with the Tesla Model X and Lucid Gravity as potential competitors. Similarly, the Recon will likely be close to $70,000 to start and appears to be aimed squarely at the Rivian R1T.
Morrison promised that we’ll see the other two North American Jeep EVs before too long, and it seems like a good bet that one of them will be the Wrangler. The other is an ‘electrified’ version of the Grand Wagoneer which also remains shrouded in mystery. Apart from saying it will have a range of 600 miles, Jeep won’t comment on the powertrain or possible price and reveal a date.
Reservations for both the Recon and Wagoneer S will open in early 2023, with deliveries starting in 2024.