The auto industry is always in flux, with trends coming and going and new technologies moving from niche oddities to ubiquitous features all the time. Older examples include seatbelts and power steering, and more recently, we’ve seen driver assistance features like forward collision warning and lane keep assist become more likely to be offered as standard fare on base trims instead of being relegated to high-tier trims. The next step is the move to electric powertrains, and we’re currently seeing more and more electric vehicles for sale in dealerships across Canada and around the world.
Electric vehicles themselves are also becoming more diverse. While they used to be pigeonholed as small commuter cars, there are now electric sports cars, electric SUVs, and even electric pickup trucks. In this environment, it’s no wonder that even the adventurous Jeep brand is getting in on electrification. The iconic Wrangler is already available as a plug-in hybrid, and now the automaker has announced that it is developing a new model that pairs rugged off-road prowess with a fully electric powertrain.
The upcoming 2025 Jeep Recon has been getting plenty of buzz among outdoor enthusiasts and environmental advocates alike. After all, who has more incentive to care about the environment than people who love spending their free time in the great outdoors? But the Recon is just one step in Jeep’s journey to electrification. How does it fit in with what the brand has already accomplished, and what can we expect to see from Jeep going forward? Let’s find out.
Jeep’s Current Electrified Lineup
Before we look at the brand’s plans for the future, let’s see what electrified options Jeep offers today. Currently, there are no all-electric offerings for Jeep drivers in Canada, but there are two plug-in hybrids. Both of them make use of Jeep’s 4xe technology, which is a 4×4 platform designed to provide both fuel efficiency and off-road capability. The two models available with a 4xe version are the Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee.
The 2024 Wrangler 4xe is designed to be every bit as trail-ready as a non-hybrid Wrangler. The combination of a turbocharged gasoline engine and electric motors delivers 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. That torque is available almost instantly, allowing the hybrid to go from 0-100 km/h in under six seconds. Its battery is sealed tight against water, so the Wrangler 4xe can safely ford up to 80 cm of water. It also delivers excellent fuel economy, rated at 4.8 Le/100 km, with an estimated range of 592 km on a full tank of gas and a fully charged battery. The 2023 Grand Cherokee 4xe brings similar power and efficiency to a more urbane SUV. It also provides 375 hp but is even more efficient, with a fuel economy rating of 4.2 Le/100 km and a range of 761 km.
You can choose between three modes when driving either of these PHEVs. Hybrid Mode uses both the engine and the battery, eSave Mode lets you save battery power for later, and Electric Mode uses only zero-emission electric power. This lets you cruise quietly for an estimated 35 km with the Wrangler 4xe or 42 km with the Grand Cherokee 4xe, which can come in handy if you’re having a wildlife encounter and don’t want to make any loud noises or if you’re going for a short drive around town and want to avoid stopping at the gas station.
You can charge the battery using either Level 1 or Level 2 charging. Level 1 is slower, but you can use a regular 120V outlet, making it a flexible choice for overnight charging at home or at a cabin in the woods. Level 2 charging is faster, and you can have a charging station installed at home or find a public charging station on the road. If you’re interested in owning a BEV one day but aren’t ready to take the plunge yet, having a PHEV can help you get acquainted with charging infrastructure while you still have a tank of gas as a backup.
What Is the Jeep Recon?
While the Jeep Recon is heavily inspired by the Wrangler, don’t get confused. This model will not be a Wrangler EV; it has an entirely new name for a reason. Instead, this model will be built from the ground up to be a zero-emission electric vehicle with 4×4 capability that can handle the rough terrain off-road enthusiasts love to tackle. From the images that have been released so far, we can see that the Recon will be roughly the same size and shape as the Wrangler and will have a face that pays homage to the Wrangler’s iconic seven-slot grille. However, this is more ornamental than functional since the Recon, as an EV, won’t have an engine under the hood.
Jeep promises that the Renegade will live up to the brand’s adventurous reputation with Trail Rated capability. It will have many of the features that Jeep drivers are already familiar with, including e-locker axles for improved traction on uneven surfaces, under-body protection to shield vital components from rocks and debris, tow hooks in case of emergencies, and a set of all-terrain tires that are ready to grip tight to off-road terrain. On the tech side, it will use Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction management system, making it versatile enough to tackle all kinds of ground conditions.
Fans of the Wrangler would never settle for an electric replacement that doesn’t offer them the level of open-air driving they’ve come to know and love. Jeep is well aware of this and has stated that the Recon will feature detachable doors, removable rear glass, and a one-touch powertop. The only thing it’s missing compared to the Wrangler is a fold-down windshield. You may not be able to hear the rumble of a combustion engine, but you’ll still be able to feel the wind on your face.
Of course, drivers who are heading off into the wilderness will probably be wondering about the Recon’s range. Those details haven’t been released yet, so we’ll have to keep our ear to the ground for updates. But Jeep brand CEO Christian Meunier has declared that the Recon “has the capability to cross the mighty Rubicon Trail, one of the most challenging off-road trails in the U.S. and reach the end of the trail with enough range to drive back to town and recharge,” so we feel confident that the Recon will be able to go a long way on a full charge.
Coming Soon to Europe: The Jeep Avenger
While Jeep has already introduced two PHEVs in the Canadian market and announced that the all-electric Recon will arrive in 2024, the brand has been pushing electrification even faster in Europe. Jeep is planning to have a 100% electric lineup in the region by 2030. One step toward that goal was the introduction of the all-electric 2023 Jeep Avenger, a subcompact SUV with an estimated electric range of 400 km. While there aren’t currently any concrete plans to bring this model across the Atlantic, that could change if models like the Recon do well in Canada. While the Avenger is on the smaller side for the Canadian market, it could be an eco-friendly replacement for the subcompact Jeep Renegade.
The Electric Future Is Closer Than You Think
It’s clear that Jeep is taking its electrification goals seriously. The 4xe models already available in Canada may not be fully electric, but they do have impressive capability and battery technology. According to Jeep, the plan is for 50% of the brand’s sales to be fully electric by 2030, which would mean a big shift for the Canadian market. We’ll have to keep an eye on these upcoming models as more details come out and see what drivers think of them once they’re actually out on the roads and trails. If all goes well, an electric future may be coming sooner than you think.