Jeep JL Wrangler Hybrid Release Date: Plug-in Rumors Continue

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2018 Jeep Wrangler JL - Jeep JL Wrangler hybrid release date

Multiple outlets report that Jeep wants the JL Wrangler hybrid released by 2020 soonest. 

The Wrangler as we know it has transformed more dramatically over the past decade or so than any other time in its storied history. No surprise then that a hybrid version – or more specifically, a plug-in hybrid – is soon to emerge into showrooms. But the details and the release date are still somewhat murky.

A powertrain change that big would certainly need careful consideration for production compared to any other internal combustion engine, as a plug-in would need room for fuel, the piston engine, batteries and the electric motors.

Motor Authority was able to chat with Jeep CEO Mike Manley at the Los Angeles Auto Show over winter, though details of the Jeep JL Wrangler hybrid release date were kept close, and weren’t revealed. However, Manley said, “Obviously our engineers were focusing on fuel economy benefits by having a plug-in, but also, because of the way you can control the power and torque, you can improve the capability.” That’s obviously a refrence to one thing specifically: keeping a plug-in hybrid Wrangler trail rated.

Thought of in a different way, electric motors would be extremely beneficial, and there’s a number of ways for them to be configured. The internal combustion engine could power the rear wheels, and two electric motors can work in the hub up front, or in a more extreme idea as points out, an engine that acts as a generator (like the Fisker Karma) sending electricity to an electric motor in each wheel. That would free up articulation for the suspension and delivery even more capability off-road when working around driveline limitations.

2019 Jeep Cherokee 2.0-Liter Turbo I4 Engine - Jeep JL Wrangler hybrid release date

But, the big question is when all of this would even happen. Jalopnik says Jeep wants the Jeep JL Wrangler hybrid release date by 2020. Motor Authority says around 2020 hinting it could be a 2021 model, a theory backed up by Car and Driver as well. But the truth is, it will happen sooner than later. There’s a mild electric assist hybrid already in play with Jeep’s DI Turbo eTorque Engine, but the plug-in is a whole different story. To quote Manley again, “electrification was always on the books for Jeep — it was inevitable.”

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Patrick Morgan is an instructor at Chicago's Autobahn Country Club and contributes to a number of Auto sites, including MB World and 6SpeedOnline.

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