We’re all eagerly awaiting for the introduction of the all-new generation Jeep Wrangler, set for later this year, but it turns out the managers are already eyeing the generation to come afterwards.
While the upcoming Wrangler will remain a very capable off-roader, taking advantage of the gap left by the end of production of other rugged vehicles such as the Land Rover Defender of Toyota FJ Cruiser, it turns out the future is also high-tech for the Wrangler. For example, even for the upcoming new generation, “we’re studying a hybrid Wrangler,” acknowledges Jeep’s chief Michael Manley, during an interview on the sidelines of the Geneva Motor Show. “Obviously there’s loads of different hybrid methods. For me you need to strike the right balance. We’re not going to allow you to be stranded on a hill somewhere. So fully electric isn’t an option for me. The hybrid tech itself works really well with our brand, with the control that you get. But it’s still a little way out in terms of time.”
The drive towards electrification comes as regulations tighten and the diesel engine is becoming obsolete after backlash following the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal. “There’ll be segments where diesel lives and thrives, but it’s not a global solution in the way hybridisation is,” adds Manley. In case you think hybrids are too much for Jeep – how do you feel about self-driving technology? “For Jeep, what’s important is that various levels of autonomy are discretionary to the owner. A small percentage of jeep owners take their cars off road, some say 20 per cent. But they’re still driving on roads to get there, and it’s still their daily commuting car. And in those areas we have to be competitive, and that means autonomous driving still needs to be available in Jeeps,” says the executive.
Via Top Gear