The Internet found the whole Tesla P85D vs. Challenger Hellcat video to be a pretty polarizing, demonstrating just how sacred some people hold the status quo to be. So how will Jeep Wrangler fans react if their beloved off-roader replaces its conventional drivetrain with a hybrid?
AutoExpress reports that Jeep brand boss Mike Manley told them that “You have the potential for hybrid powertrains in the future. For those people who use the Wrangler, the most important thing is the initial torque and the crawl ratio.”
He isn’t wrong, as the Wrangler has managed to survive multiple recessions and changes in trends with its legendary off-roading capability intact. That said, there’s been plenty of changes under the hood, though none of them half as popular as the die-hard inline-six design that lasted nearly four decades as the preferred powertrain.
A diesel engine will also be offered as the next-gen conventional powertrain for the Wrangler, but Manley seems to think a hybrid drivetrain might be the way to go instead, as electric motors have a lot of advantages for off-roading. “With an electric motor you have the most torque available and with the right combination of transmission and gear ratios you can create incredible crawl ratios,” Manley said. But Jeep would have to take care with how the hybrid system is calibrated, with multiple modes focusing on different driving conditions.
Tesla has shown just how potent electric motors and all-wheel drive could be, and a plug-in hybrid Wrangler could offer a competitive edge out on the trail…if the system could be made reliable and rugged enough. I put my Wrangler through plenty of obstacles that would have destroyed a lesser vehicle, and it probably comes as no surprise that I’m all for a hybrid Jeep, one that may also use aluminum and other weight-saving features to boost its fuel economy.
I just want to take a second to say how encouraging it is that automakers are considering hybrid drivetrains even for vehicles like the Wrangler. The Toyota Prius and even the Tesla Model S only have so much appeal, but if people can accept vehicles like the Wrangler, Mustang, and pickup trucks as hybrids, then it seems to me its only a matter of time before they make the jump to fully electric. And then, it’s goodbye oil.
Will the Jeep community as a whole be as open-minded though? I think so. After all, if people can not just accept, but openly praise a four-door Wrangler mall-crawler, why not a hybrid too?