Jeep to launch first BEVs, including new Recon, Wagoneer 'S' and Avenger
Jeep on Thursday said it will have a fully electrified expanded lineup, including four all-electric SUVs, by 2025 in North America as it pursues becoming an SUV leader in zero-emission vehicles and volume.
The new electric vehicles target the heart of the American SUV market, executives said. They are the Recon, a Wrangler-inspired midsize SUV, and a premium midsize Wagoneer code named Wagoneer S. Both will be built in North America.
Four BEVs also will be available in Europe by 2025. But the new Avenger compact SUV that Stellantis previewed earlier this year — Jeep's first battery-electric production vehicle — won't be available in North America, which represents 60% of its business.
"This powerful combination of design, legendary 4x4 capability and electrification will reshape the SUV market," Jeep CEO Christian Meunier said during a news briefing ahead of Thursday's presentation. "We plan to lead the charge into the future so that more people around the world can join the Jeep community towards zero-emission freedom."
The plans mark the fruits of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV merger with French automaker Groupe PSA in 2021 to create Stellantis, which is investing $35.5 billion into electrification and software by 2025, but doesn't sell any all-electric vehicles in the United States today. By 2030, Jeep expects half of its U.S. sales will be all-electric with a full range of BEVs, which is in-line with Stellantis' group goals.
"It suggests when they announced last year they would have an electrified version of everything they build, they were actually serious," said Sam Abuelsamid, principal e-mobility analyst at market research firm Guidehouse Inc. "The former FCA was such a laggard in terms of going electric or electrifying that they’re making a serious push now."
The exclusively all-electric Recon aimed as customers looking for exploring and adventuring in near silence, according to the company. Details on range and power weren't provided on Thursday. The global SUV will go on display to the public next year, and production will begin in 2024. U.S. reservations will begin in early 2023.
The four-door vehicle has a one-touch powertop and removable doors and glass like the similarly sized Wrangler. It will feature trail-rated Jeep Selec-Terrain traction management system, e-locker axle technology, under-body protection, tow hooks, off-road tires, a "frunk" and the Uconnect 5 infotainment system with travel guides of notable off-road trails. There also are plans for a selection of Jeep Performance Parts.
Although design cues were taken from the Wrangler, the Recon is no replacement for Jeep's flagship, Meunier said: "The Wrangler stays the Wrangler, the icon of the brand. That is very clear. The best of the best of the best is the Wrangler of what is capable."
Added Ralph Gilles, chief design officer: There's "a lot of DNA transfer onto Recon, but all of it was thoughtful, but it's really aimed at a new customer."
Additionally, Jeep has to move its buyers to the electrified side to meet the goals it's established, said Stephanie Brinley, principal automotive analyst at S&P Global Mobility.
"That’s a goal," she said of the potential for a vehicle like the Recon to attract Wrangler buyers. "Ultimately, if they want to move their U.S. customers, they better be cannibalizing their lineup as well as others'."
For the Wagoneer sub-brand, the Jeep team will introduce an "electrified" Grand Wagoneer 4xe in 2024. Details on the powertrain weren't provided, but the full-size SUV is expected to have 500 miles of combined range, enough to travel from New York City to Toronto, Ontario, on a single charge.
The smaller Wagoneer S — S also for speed, striking and sexy, Gilles said — is an exclusive and global BEV. The goal for the vehicle is 400 miles on a single charge. It's expected to pack 600 horsepower, offering a 0 to 60 mph time of around 3.5 seconds — Trackhawk fast. The Wagoneer S will be on display publicly next year with production slated to begin in 2024. U.S. reservations will begin in early 2023.
"It's going to have great four-wheel drive capability," Morrison said, "but it's not going to have Trail-Rated Rubicon Trail worthiness."
Natural comparisons will be to the midsize Jeep Grand Cherokee, the brand's top-selling vehicle whose top-of-the-line Summit Reserve trim starts at $65,175. The flat battery of the Wagoneer S, though, offers best use of the interior space, Gilles said.
Both the Recon and Wagoneer S are built on the Auburn Hills-engineered STLA Large platform, one of four global underpinnings for Stellantis' BEVs. That showcases the platform's flexibility, Meunier said.
"That's quite remarkable, because the flavors of these two vehicles are quite different," he said. "Customer targets are extremely different. One is really an adventure machine. The other is really the reinvention of the American modern icon, high-performance, very fast, very premium, but very different customers."
In Europe, Jeep says 100% of its sales will be all-electric. Half are electrified today, which includes plug-in hybrids. By the end of 2022, Jeep says 100% of its SUV portfolio will be electrified in almost all European markets.
The Avenger will fall under the Jeep Renegade, Jeep's smallest vehicle currently. The Avenger will be available in Europe and other markets like Japan and South Korea. Morrison said there isn't a market in the United States for this size of SUV. The target for its electric range is nearly 250 miles (400 kilometers).
Stealing its name from sister brand Dodge, the Avenger will make its public debut on Oct. 17 at the Paris Motor Show. Reservations open that same day. It will hit showrooms in early 2023.
The new exclusively electric models are a further expansion of the Jeep brand, which has entered a few new segments recently with the Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer and their larger L version as well as the three-row Grand Cherokee L. In North America, Jeep has plug-in hybrid versions of the Wrangler, the top-selling PHEV in the United States, according to the company, and of the Grand Cherokee.
"The products they are talking about," Brinley said of the BEVs, "are fully in-line with Jeep authenticity, what customers want, and how they would like to use their vehicles."
Jeep also is undergoing a restructuring of its business in China after Stellantis' joint venture with Guangzhou Automobile Group Co. Ltd. fell apart. Meunier said the brand's strategy in the world's largest autos and EV market remains in flux, but it's Jeep's intention to bring the BEVs to China, as well.
Jeep previously shared two versions of its Magneto all-electric concept, a retrofitted two-door 2020 Wrangler it took to the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, to test. Morrison said the Magneto offered engineering experience in how to manage the immediate torque offered by BEVs.
"But most importantly," he said, "we've learned from our customers that they love electrified Jeeps, and that's really the coolest thing."