Jeep CEO Christian Meunier has confirmed the Gladiator ute is getting an electrified option as expected, but has ruled out an EV pickup version of the upcoming Recon electric 4×4.
The company has not confirmed, however, whether the electrified Gladiator – expected to be a plug-in hybrid using ‘4xe’ branding like the Wrangler – will come here to Australia.
Jeep doesn’t sell the Wrangler PHEV here, though it’ll launch its first 4xe model – the Grand Cherokee – in the first half of 2023.
It has previously pledged to have a 4xe variant of all its models by 2025 globally, and Mr Meunier told CarExpert “Gladiator will be electrified too”.
The electrified Gladiator is likely to borrow the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder plug-in hybrid powertrain from the Wrangler 4xe, which features two electric motors and a 17kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
Total outputs are 280kW and 637Nm, with a claimed 40km of electric range.
When asked whether the inevitable Gladiator 4xe will be built in right-hand drive, Mr Meunier demurred.
“It’s all a matter of potential. I’ve pushed truly hard to get the Wrangler 4xe to Australia and in the UK but the business case was not conclusive,” he said.
“Does that mean it’s not going to happen? I don’t know.”
The Gladiator, like the Wrangler, is currently available in Australia exclusively with the Pentastar naturally aspirated 3.6-litre petrol V6.
While an electrified Gladiator is coming to at least some regions, Jeep ruled out a V8 version of the ute – despite its Wrangler platform-mate offering one in North America.
“V8 is not the future,” said Mr Meunier.
He claimed the brand’s new 4xe plug-in hybrids are “like a V8 or somewhat better”.
Mr Meunier then poured cold water on the idea of Jeep rolling out more ute options, including a version of its upcoming electric Recon off-roader with a tub out the back.
“We’re not a pickup truck brand. We have one, that’s enough,” he said.
“I don’t see the benefits of doing a pickup on a Recon when we have Gladiator that is doing very well.”
Jeep hasn’t confirmed power, torque and range figures for the Recon, but has confirmed the rugged-looking off-roader will be able to tackle the Rubicon Trail and will offer e-locker axle technology, tow hooks, under-body protection and Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction management system.
The Recon, like the Wagoneer S also revealed this year, will be offered in Australia. They’ll enter production in 2024.
Fellow Stellantis brand Ram is set to reveal a concept electric ute called the Revolution in November, with a production-spec version to be revealed in 2023 ahead of a launch in 2024. The electric ute is set to rival the likes of the Chevrolet Silverado EV and Ford F-150 Lightning.
As Jeep readies its first electric vehicles and rolls out its range of plug-in hybrids, it has been moving away from both V8 engines and diesels.
The brand is expected to discontinue the EcoDiesel 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel offered in the Gladiator and Wrangler in North America, with Ram having confirmed it’s axing the oil-burner.
Jeep’s latest WL Grand Cherokee also goes without a diesel, somewhat controversially here in Australia.
The Australian-market Wrangler also lost its turbo-diesel four-cylinder option for 2021.
The Grand Cherokee 4xe, based on the shorter, two-row body, will arrive in Australia before the middle of 2023.
Like the Wrangler 4xe not sold here, it features a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine.
Jeep has also confirmed the new Hurricane inline-six will be offered in a plug-in hybrid variant, likely to be used in the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer full-sized SUVs not sold here.