Fancy going off-road in silence? Following in the tyre tracks of the 2021 Jeep Renegade and Jeep Compass 4xe is the Jeep Wrangler 4xe. The iconic off-roader has now received an electrified powertrain in 4xe guise for the 2021 model year, and it is identified by ‘Electric Blue’ highlights on the Rubicon variant for its tow hooks, Rubicon naming outlines, along with Electric Blue stitching and trim in the interior.

Here, the Wrangler 4xe – pronounced “four-by-e”, says Jeep – combines a 2.0 litre turbocharged inline-four cylinder petrol engine with two electric motors for a total system output of 375 hp and 637 Nm of torque. For comparison, the Renegade and Compass 4xe plug-in hybrids are powered by a 1.3 litre turbo petrol with dual electric motors, with a total system output of up to 240 hp.

The internal combustion engine on its own produces 270 hp at 5,250 rpm and 400 Nm of torque at 3,000 rpm, and this is augmented by an eTorque belt starter generator-motor rated at 44 hp and 53 Nm of torque, along with an integrated transmission traction motor that produces 134 hp and 245 Nm of torque. Outputs are sent to the wheels via a ZF-sourced TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission.

Electric drive on the Wrangler 4xe is powered by a 400-volt, 17 kWh lithium-ion battery pack with nickel manganese (NMC) graphie chemistry, says Jeep, and which is located beneath the second-row seats in order to be protected from external elements. The second-row seat has been redesigned for the seat cushion to be flipped forward to grant access to the battery pack beneath.

This battery pack is located within an aluminium housing that has a dedicated heating and cooling circuit to maintain optimum operating temperature, while a chiller uses the Wrangler’s air-conditioning refrigerant to reduce coolant temperature when required. An integrated dual charging module (IDCM) combines a battery charger with a DC/DC converter in a single unit that is more compact than two separate components, and a power inverter module than is reduced in size.

All high-voltage electronics are sealed and waterproof in the Wrangler 4xe, enabling it to match the water fording capabilities of its internal combustion siblings with a rating of 76 cm. The Jeep Wrangler 4xe will be sold globally, and its battery charging ports will be tailored to specific regions, the company said.

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The starter-generator motor assumes the role of the conventional 12-volt starter motor, however a 12-volt battery is still present in the Wrangler 4xe for powering the vehicle’s accessories. Meanwhile, the second, high-voltage motor replaces the torque converter in the eight-speed transmission, where two clutches manage powertrain outputs. A binary (on or off) clutch decouples the engine from the electric motor in EV mode, while the second, variable engagement clutch behind the e-motor manages drivability and efficiency.

Three modes of powertrain operation are offered, known as E Selec. Hybrid mode combines both internal combustion and electric drive systems, where it begins operating in electric mode, and adds internal combustion drive when battery charge has been consumed. Electric mode prioritised battery power until it is nearly depleted, or when the driver demands greater outputs, such as when wide-open throttle is used.

A third, eSave mode prioritises the internal combustion engine, helping to conserve battery charge for later use or in areas where internal combustion use is restricted. Regardless of the powertrain mode selected, the Wrangler 4xe defaults to hybrid mode once the battery reaches a pre-determined minimum state of charge. Through the UConnect infotainment system, drivers can also observe their driving history detailing petrol and battery usage, and the charging schedule to take advantage of hours with lower electricity rates.

The electrified Wrangler comes in three versions – the base 4xe, Sahara 4xe and the Rubicon 4xe. Driveline in the base and Sahara 4xe variants feature a Selec-Trac transfer case with a low range ratio of 2.72:1, while the Rubicon 4xe gets a Rock-Trac transfer case with a 4:1 low range ratio. Both driveline versions have 2WD High, 4WD Auto, 4WD High, neutral and 4WD Low modes.

Third-generation Dana 44 axles feature on all variants of the Wrangler 4xe. The front axle features an open differential on the base and Sahara 4xe variants while the Rubicon 4xe gets a Tru-Lock electronically locking unit, while the rear axle gets an open differential with Trac-Lock anti-spin on the base and Sahara variants, and a Tru-Lock electronically locking differential on the Rubicon variant.

The Wrangler Rubicon 4xe gets a crawl ratio of 77.2:1 for traversing more extreme terrain, and this variant also gets a front axle sway bar disconnect function to offer more axle articulation and suspension travel. The top variant is rated for approach, breakover and departure angles of 44 degrees, 22.5 degrees and 35.6 degrees respectively, with a ground clearance of 27.4 cm.

Rolling stock for the Wrangler 4xe and Wrangler Sahara 4xe variants are 275/55 Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza tyres on 20-inch wheels, while the more hardcore Rubicon 4xe off-roader gets LT285/70 BF Goodrich KO2 All-Terrain tyres on 17-inch wheels.

The Wrangler 4xe also can be specified with an OEM-developed Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) two-inch lift kit that is specifically developed for the Wrangler 4xe’s PHEV application; an industry-first, says Jeep. Additional available parts include beadlock-capable wheels, off-road bumpers, LED off-road lights and rock rails, while a 240-volt home wall charger will be offered online via Amazon.

Built at the Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio, United States, the Wrangler 4xe will be available later this year in 10 exterior colours, including black, Bright White, Firecracker Red, Granite Crystal Metallic, Hella Yella, Hydro Blue (available later on), Sting-Gray, Snazzberry, Sarge and Billet Silver Metallic. Interior trim options for the Wrangler 4xe include Black with Heritage Tan cloth, and Black with Dark Saddle leather.