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Seven concepts debut at Easter Jeep Safari

Four electric Jeep concept vehicles headline 57th annual off-road event

3 Apr 2023

JEEP has debuted seven off-roading concept vehicles – four of them electric – at its 57th annual ‘Easter Jeep Safari’, held in front of 20,000 Jeep enthusiasts at the brand’s so-called ‘home away from home’ in Moab, Utah.


Headlined by the third iteration of Jeep’s first-ever electric vehicle concept – the Wrangler Magneto, now dubbed Magneto 3.0 – offering increased outputs, improved range and more radical styling alterations, the Easter Safari event also included the Wrangler Rubicon 4xe concept (a development of the four-cylinder turbo-petrol plug-in hybrid model offered in the US), the Wrangler Rubicon 4xe Depature concept (a more extreme off-roading version developed by Jeep Performance Parts by Mopar) and a 1978 Jeep Cherokee 4xe concept (a resto-mod interpretation of the SJ Cherokee with Wrangler 4xe running gear).


These electrified Jeeps were joined by the Scrambler 392 concept (a lime-green conceptual off-roader featuring a Hemi V8 and adjustable air suspension), the Grand Wagoneer Overland concept (a camping-friendly, off-road-enhanced interpretation of Jeep’s flagship US-market SUV) and the Gladiator Rubicon Sideburn concept (an exploration of available or conceptual parts from JPP by Mopar, intended to expand its capabilities while simultaneously responding to customer feedback).


Beyond 2021’s Wrangler Magneto and 2022’s Magneto 2.0, the new Magneto 3.0 concept brings a more efficient axial flux electric motor that boosts torque, improves useable (though unspecified) energy and range by 20 percent, and gains three driver-selectable functions.


‘Output select’ offers two power settings – standard (213kW/370Nm, as per the original Magneto) and maximum (485kW/1220Nm) – while ‘two-stage power regeneration’ mode allows for normal driving or enhanced braking regeneration using the electric motor.


An enhanced ‘hill-descent’ mode that can be selected in low range allows for ‘one-pedal’ off-road driving (using only the throttle) in extreme rock-crawling situations.


Magneto 3.0 also features 20-inch bead-lock alloys with 40-inch mud-terrain tyres, Dynatrac front and rear axles, and a 76mm lift in suspension height.


Bodywork has been extensively modified to include wider door openings, repositioned B-pillars, “swept back” front mudguards and 12.0 degrees more windscreen rake. The original Magneto’s Bright White and Surf Blue colour scheme remains, but with new red accents and more concept-like detailing for the 3.0.


Even more conceptual in flavour but coming from the opposite end of the powertrain spectrum was the Scrambler 392 concept.


Inspired by the 1981 Scrambler CJ-8 – the Jeep brand’s first convertible pick-up – but painted in a retro-mod Sublime Green with gloss-black accents, the Scrambler 392 shares the Magneto 3.0’s raked windscreen but adds lightweight carbon-fibre custom bodywork (including the bonnet), and features different 20-inch alloys with similar 40-inch oversized tyres.


Yet underneath hides a 350kW/637Nm 6.4-litre Hemi V8 powering a development of Jeep’s new ‘AccuAir’ air suspension developed for the Wrangler and Gladiator. This allows for adjustable suspension lift ranging from 38mm to 140mm, which can be adjusted on the move from either inside the cabin or via long-range Bluetooth on a wireless device.


More series-production in flavour but with similar black-outs on its bonnet, roof pillars and wheel-arch extensions, the ‘Industrial Green’ Grand Wagoneer Overland concept – powered by Jeep’s new 380kW/678Nm 3.0-litre twin-turbo-petrol ‘Hurricane’ six-cylinder – was defined by its custom ‘Red Tail Overland Skyloft’ roof pod.


This fully integrated carbon-fibre ‘pop-top’ can be opened in around 10 seconds from inside the cabin by simply pushing up with one arm, says Jeep, to provide “a climate-controlled oasis complete with a sleeping space for two people”.


Removing the second- and third-row seats, and repositioning the rear sunroof, creates a custom weatherproof entrance to the upper Skyloft level, with a fore/aft sliding door and a small step (which also doubles as a table) allowing for easy access.


To highlight the Grand Wagoneer’s rear-seat entertainment, Jeep also included two oversized beanbags, a throw rug, pillows, and custom ambient lighting.


But the fan-favourite of the event was the electrified ’78 Cherokee 4xe concept. Built around a two-door 1978 Cherokee SJ with Wide-Track option, the two-seat 4xe concept blended a faithful rendering of ‘70s Jeep bodywork (including a multi-colour paint treatment in yellow, orange and red) with the running gear of a Wrangler Rubicon 4xe.


That means a plug-in hybrid 280kW/637Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder drivetrain with an eight-speed automatic gearbox offering around 34km of electric-only driving range, plus concept exclusives such as 17-inch “slotted mag-style” wheels with 37-inch off-road tyres, leather-trimmed ‘low-back’ bucket seats, a four-point roll cage and a full-size spare in the cargo area.

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