The plan is for EVs to make up half of Stellantis sales in North America by the end of the decade. It’s a number that Meunier isn’t sure the region could support today. The Biden administration, likewise, wants half of new vehicles sold in the U.S. to be zero emission by 2030.
Jeep’s move to electrification is “happening really fast with our vision to zero emission freedom, which is really our guiding principle for the brand,” Meunier said this month. “We’re now in the middle of a big transformation that will shape our brand in the next 20 years.”
The prospect of an all-EV Jeep lineup in the U.S. through a 2022 lens may seem daunting, but this reality could look more achievable down the line as the country develops a more expansive charging network, said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights.
Caldwell said Jeep will have to maintain its “go anywhere” spirit with its EVs. She thinks it’s possible Jeep could offer varying ranges on models depending on the preferred usage. Those who will do most of their driving in urban environments may not need the same range as a trail enthusiast.
“That unique selling point for Jeep is the go-anywhere, do-anything type of imagery, which an EV at this point in time sometimes can be quite limiting depending on where you are,” Caldwell said. “But I think as we transition and more infrastructure is built out and charging becomes easier, even just available more in different places, I think that’s when we will start to see a different world where it is possible to go off-road at places like Yellowstone or Yosemite or Moab.”
Matt Degen, editor of Kelley Blue Book, said the positive response to the 4xe vehicles could be an early sign of strong demand for Jeep’s electric options. He believes the burgeoning collection of chargers near trailheads could turn into gathering spots for the Jeep community as they replenish their batteries.
Degen tackled the Rubicon a decade ago in a Wrangler and remembers it taking hours to go just seven miles on the rocky terrain. Many trails aren’t very long, Degen said, so the range issue wouldn’t always come into play.
The Grand Cherokee Trailhawk 4xe already has completed the Rubicon using only battery power.
“As far as the range is concerned, you just obviously need a lot of power to go up and over these huge boulders and what not, and that’s what electric motors provide, so in that sense, I think it could work,” Degen said. “Especially if you have some charging points along the way, maybe at the start of the trail, at the end of the trail. That can work out for them. It’s not like you’re going across the Sahara here.”