The Easter Jeep Safari is the ultimate testing ground for the automaker's lineup of current off-roaders and crazy concepts. 4x4 enthusiasts from around the globe descend upon Moab, Utah to test drive these vehicles on the region's iconic trails. Unfortunately, these die-hard Jeep aficionados had their hearts broken last year when the 2020 Easter Jeep Safari was canceled due to COVID, for the first time in 53 years. This year, the event returns on March 27th, and Jeep makes up for lost time by bringing something truly special to the red rock wonderland. The first-ever pure electric Jeep Wrangler concept, the 'Magneto', makes its debut.
Pure EV Power in a Familiar Package
The Jeep Wrangler Magneto Concept stands out from most traditional EVs because it doesn't mess with the formula for the stock Wrangler's chassis or body. The Magneto Concept is based on the two-door 2020 Wrangler Rubicon, but it swaps the Wrangler's internal combustion engine for a custom-built axial flux electric motor. The e-motor is powered by four lithium-ion battery packs placed strategically around the Wrangler to balance weight on the four wheels. The battery packs produce a combined power of 70 kW/h.
Another unique feature of the Magneto is that the e-motor is hooked up to a six-speed manual transmission creating a rare manual-electric powertrain. The clutch operates as it would with an internal combustion engine. In quick-shift scenarios, the e-motor engages regen upon clutch engagement to prevent rev-hang.
Not only is the body of the Wrangler Rubicon left unchanged in the electrification process, but Jeep also keeps the power and torque output consistent with the standard Wrangler. The Magneto produces 285 horsepower and 273 lb-feet of torque to match the performance of the Wrangler's 3.6-liter V6. Although the Magneto Concept is designed for slower rock-climbing challenges, it gets a respectable 0-60 time of 6.8 seconds. No estimates for the electric range have been revealed.
Styling and Off-Road Features
The Jeep Wrangler Magneto Concept can be easily spotted on the red rocks of Moab with its Bright White exterior paint and Surf Blue accents. The electric Wrangler gets a heavy-duty performance hood with center scoop and custom "Magneto" decal, a redesigned rear gate, and full-width forward lighting.
Inside, the Magneto is dressed up in exclusive Royal Blue and Black leather seats with Sapphire inserts and straps. Other interior details that remind occupants of the Jeep's electric powertrain include a Surf Blue truck bed liner and Mopar slush mats.
To tackle Moab's challenging terrain, the Jeep Magneto comes equipped with off-road focused features like a Jeep Performance Parts 2-inch lift kit, 17-inch black metallic wheels with 35-inch mud-terrain tires, custom roll cage, Mopar Rock Rails, steel bumpers with a Warn winch, and a steel belly pan.
Will You Be Able to Buy an Electric Wrangler?
Although off-road enthusiasts will get to test the limits of the Wrangler Magneto Concept in Moab during the weeklong Easter Jeep Safari, they will likely not be able to own the electric SUV for several years. Currently, no plans or timeframe for a production Wrangler Magneto (or similar EV) have been disclosed, but the automaker announced that every Jeep model will have an electrified variant in the future. This means that a fully-electric production Wrangler could be in the cards in the coming years.
Shoppers looking for an electrified Wrangler this year can opt for the new Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid. This revolutionary Wranger features a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, two electric motors, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The result is 375 horsepower, 470 lb-ft of torque, and an estimated 50 MPGe. The Wrangler 4xe blends efficiency, off-road capability, and driving fun with a quick 0-60 of 6 seconds.