The next-generation Jeep Wrangler will come with petrol-electric hybrid power for the first time, company chief Mike Manley has confirmed.
Manley told reporters at the Geneva motor show that while a full battery-electric (EV) Wrangler was “not a great fit”, a hybrid variant in the new-look 2018 range was.
“We have continued our studies on hybridisation for the Wrangler, and it’s a balance for us,” he said.
“Obviously there are loads of different hybrid technologies, from mild to 48-volt through to full battery-electric.
“For the Wrangler you need to strike the right balance – we don’t want to do something that will leave you stranded on a hillside. So for me, full battery EV is not a great fit.
“But hybridisation works well with the brand because of the attributes that come with electric equipment – not just the torque, but also the control.”
Manley wouldn’t be drawn on reports that the new Wrangler will use lighter aluminium components – like in the bonnet, for instance – to cut weight.
He said the aim was to make a lighter vehicle while still using high-strength steels to ensure it’s fit for purpose for off-road conditions.
Jeep is also working on improving the fuel economy and noise, vibration and harshness levels.
Manley also confirmed that the pick-up version of the Wrangler would be built in both left- and right-hand drive as a crew cab rather than a single cab.
But that mightn’t be the case for the premium Jeep, the luxury Wagoneer, built to rival the likes of the Range Rover and due early next decade.
“Will it be sold in right-hand drive? Right now I don’t know the answer to that,” said Manley.
“I have moved it back for a couple of reasons. Between now and 2020 we have the Wrangler, the Cherokee facelift, the Renegade facelift and the Wrangler truck to deal with. Also it is a car with a long gestation period.”