Affirming loud and clear that « Jeep wants to become the world leader in electrified SUVs and 4x4s », Christian Meunier, the Frenchman who drives the brand from Detroit, backs up his speech with tangible evidence. First, via new images and an official name (Avenger) for the small electric urban SUV marketed at the World Cup. Then, with the revelation, during its back-to-school press conference, of two other, more unexpected Jeep 4x4s. Both are electric and are based on the new STLA-L platform from the Franco-Italian-American group Stellantis, but are intended for diametrically opposed uses. Thus the Recon is aimed at fans of Jeep Wrangler, Toyota Land Cruiser and other Land Rover Defenders who would like to switch to 100% electric propulsion! While the Jeep Wagoneer S attempts to reconnect with the chic SUV positioning that it itself inaugurated in the early 1960s.
The Jeep Recon, an electric Siamese for the Wrangler
If the arrival of an electric urban Jeep -aka Jeep Avenger- had been claimed for months, the confirmation of a 100% watted franchisor like the Jeep Recon promises to be, was not won in advance. Especially from 2023. Knowing that it does not replace the stainless Jeep Wrangler, renewed in 2017, but doubles the Jeep offer in its specialty, the “pure and hard” 4 x 4.
Moreover, referring to the Rubicon Trail, famous and tough off-road course in the Sierra Nevada (California), Christian Meunier, the boss of Jeep, wants to confirm the claims of his electric off-road: “The all-new, all-electric Jeep Recon has the ability to traverse the famed Rubicon Trail […] and reach the end of the trail with enough range to return to town to recharge.“In terms of autonomy, this course of about twenty kilometers does not give any significant indications. On the other hand, he testifies that this Jeep Recon should not disappoint the practitioners – much rarer in France than in the United States – of spectacular crossings. Thus, Jeep promises that this electric 4 x 4 “will improve off-road adventures thanks to the Jeep Selec-Terrain traction management system, electric axle locking technology (e-locker), underbody protection , towing hooks and specific off-road tyres”. As for the range of the Recon, it should exceed 600 km of autonomy even if Jeep does not confirm the characteristics of its battery or its electrical unit. While American customers will be able to reserve their Jeep Recon in early 2023, when it will be presented across the Atlantic, the first deliveries will not take place until 2024. Suffice to say that this electric Wrangler will not land with us for two years.
Jeep Wagoneer S, an electric face to the Range Rover
When we see California – one of the most car-loving American states – legislating a ban on the sale of internal combustion cars in 2035, we say to ourselves that, even in the United States, the 4×4 and SUV market will change. And Jeep to anticipate with its Wagoneer S project for 2023 which precisely does not bear the Jeep logo. Because the idea is to reconnect with the high-end positioning that this ancestor of premium SUVs invented. This reconquest was initiated in the United States since 2021 with the new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer V8, after a long absence since their production ceased in 1991. However, as early as 1963, the Jeep Wagoneer had laid the foundations for what we calls the chic SUV, a refined 4 x 4 (6-cylinder engine, power steering, automatic transmission…) and this, almost ten years before the Range Rover. Across the Atlantic, the current Jeep Wagoneer therefore competes with the Chevrolet Tahoe or Ford Expedition, which are around 5.45 m! And the Grand Wagoneer lengthens by 30 cm to stock up on high-tech or “European luxury” equipment to rival the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. All without sporting the Jeep badge. And this electric, for the moment called Jeep Wagoneer S, to imitate them, confirming the desire of the most powerful American brand of Stellantis to oppose the European tenors. But we will have to wait until 2023 to board this “full electric” and verify that it can oppose the Mercedes EQS SUV, BMW iX and future Volvo “Embla”. Already its design, imagined by the team of Ralph Gilles – the design boss of Stellantis in Detroit –, shows that he thinks of challenging the Range Rover and Range Sport, two thermal SUVs which will not convert to 100% electric before 2024. While this Jeep Wagonner S was developed on an STLA-L platform designed from the outset for all-electric allowing it to “ target a range of 400 miles (about 640 km) on a single charge, 600 hp and 0 to 100 km/h in about 3.5 seconds” according to Jeep.
Compare the real autonomy of the best electric cars according to our standardized measurement cycle. Battery capacity, consumption, autonomy, we tell you everything!
An electric Cherokee in 2025?
By 2025, Jeep therefore guarantees to market four purely electric 4x4s in Europe and in its first market: North America. With the unpublished Jeep Avenger in 2022 and the Jeep Recon or future Jeep Wagoneer S, both made in the United States from 2023, we already know three of them, without the American label specifying for the moment the nature of the fourth. But looking at the range that these three new « emission-free » SUVs draw and which duplicates the Renegade/Wrangler and Grand Wagoneer offer, we say to ourselves that it is a 100% electric twin to the Grand Cherokee that Jeep will miss. Verdict to follow.