The boss of the iconic American brand has hinted at some incredible features that could be available on future versions of its offroaders.
The electric Jeep of the future may be able to pass battery charge from one vehicle to another, drive autonomously off-road, power a campsite and work with flying drones that light the path ahead.
Cameras with facial recondition software will replace the need for keys, flat-folding seats enable drivers to sleep under the stars, and solar-powered charging stations in the bush may provide the energy boost required to get home safely.
None of these features are currently available, but Jeep believes they could be part of an emissions-free future.
Speaking with Australian reporters this week, Jeep chief executive Christian Meunier says the company is preparing to make massive changes.
“We are committed to a zero emission, 100 per cent freedom future,” he said.
“This is a global trend. The world is changing. The world is evolving and our role is to make Jeep even more exciting.”
Australia has been slow to adopt electric cars, which represent less than 1 per cent of new car sales, but Meunier says the country will “become very quickly electrified”.
“These countries have to accelerate the effort toward electrification,” he said.
“I would like to have a proactive approach in those markets.
“I’m going to push for electrification as a leader and not as a follower.”
Jeep is catching up to rival brands such as Jaguar Land Rover, which have a head start in hybrid and electric vehicles.
But the plug-in hybrid version of the Wrangler four-wheel-drive is the most popular plug-in hybrid sold in the US, helped by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and electric motor offering V8-rivalling torque.
As with most brands, Jeep will phase out our petrol and diesel vehicles in favour of hybrid and electric power in the future.
Powerful V8-powered vehicles such as the Grand Cherokee SRT and Trackhawk have been core to the brand’s appeal in Australia, building a loyal following from folks who want a powerful SUV without spending vast sums on European performance cars.
Meunier said “it’s pretty obvious” that V8s cannot remain on sale forever.
“I love V8, but I love electrification even more”.
“In the mid term we want to protect the V8 for as long as we can,” he said.
“[But] electrification gives an opportunity to get even more performance in a better way – more acceleration – than a V8.”
Jeep’s Stellantis parent company is working on ultra-high performance electric muscle cars to rival the likes of Tesla’s Model S and the Porsche Taycan – at least in straight-line performance.
The Jeep boss plans a staggered transition to emissions-free motoring, with diesel, six and eight-cylinder options remaining in some markets longer than others.
Australia’s loose emissions rules and strong appetite for off-road and performance cars could make it holdout for big-motor Jeeps.
But Meunier is adamant that an electric Jeep Wrangler four-wheel-drive will win over fans of the brand.
“The product is going to be very appealing to the customer. The Jeep community likes nature, they embrace nature. To drive in silence in nature, is awesome. It’s magic.”
Jeep hints at wild electric off-roader