Jeep has committed to being a “leader” in the hybrid and electric space Down Under – but its most exciting plug-in hybrid remains out of reach for our market.

    “I am going to push for electrification as a leader and not a follower,” global Jeep boss Christian Meunier this week told Asia Pacific media.

    “We’re not going to be after the others, we’re going to be first, and we’re going to do everything we can in all the [APAC] region.”

    Mr Meunier says markets like Australia, Japan, and Korea “are going to become very quickly electrified”.

    “Obviously they are far behind Europe, still a little bit behind the US, but we can see the energy, we can see the fact that basically these countries have to contribute to the planet and have to accelerate the efforts towards electrification.

    “We can see that. Legislation is coming, governments are changing, governments are starting to strengthen the regulations and compliance.

    “Instead of just waiting for the governments to rule and to say who does what when, I would like to have a proactive approach in those markets and bring electrification upfront,” he said.

    The first electrified Jeep in Australia will be the Grand Cherokee L 4xe plug-in hybrid. It’s likely to be followed by a plug-in version of the five-seat Grand Cherokee, although timing hasn’t been confirmed.

    Unfortunately, the first plug-in hybrid Jeep Wrangler remains out of reach.

    Earlier this year global Jeep boss Christian Meunier said he’d “love” to see the Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid come to Australia – but a Stellantis spokesperson has this week confirmed it’s no closer to our market.

    The 4xe pairs the Wrangler’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine – not sold here – with two electric motors and a 17kWh lithium-ion battery mounted beneath the second-row seat.

    Jeep claims combined outputs of 280kW of power and 637Nm of torque.

    The 4xe uses an eight-speed automatic transmission and employs regenerative braking for all four wheels.

    Jeep claims an electric-only range of 40km, while fuel economy is improved through the use of a Stop/Start system.

    Mr Meunier says demand for the Wrangler 4xe is causing long wait lists in the USA, where the car debuted earlier in 2021.

    “The Jeep Wrangler that was launched only three months ago is the best-selling PHEV in America, ahead of Toyota,” Mr Meunier said. “It is sold out for the rest of the year.”

    Jeep this week laid out its plans for an electrified future under the new Stellantis umbrella, promising to offer pure-electric cars across all its brands.

    By 2025, it plans for 70 per cent of all its sales to be electrified vehicles, ranging from mild-hybrid to all-electric.

    Jeep also used EV Day to preview features it may offer in the future, like vehicle-to-vehicle charging, drone pairing and biometric recognition, as well as something decidedly simpler: front seats that fold flat to form a bed.

    It also suggested it could roll out autonomous off-road driving capability by 2030, as well as a function that could allow you to send your Jeep off while you tracked it remotely.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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