Jeep confirmed it will offer the Gladiator with an electrified powertrain in the not-too-distant future. It stressed that plug-in hybrid technology will continue to spread across its range, both in the United States and abroad, and it ruled out releasing a turbodiesel-powered version of the new Grand Cherokee introduced online in 2021.
Company boss Christian Meunier answered "for sure" when asked whether the Gladiator will sooner or later be electrified by Australian publication Go Auto. He didn't specifically point to the plug-in hybrid 4xe powertrain available on the Wrangler, but that's very likely what he was referring to. After all, the Gladiator is closely related to and built on the same assembly line as the Wrangler. Integrating the system into the truck shouldn't present significant engineering challenges, and it would allow Jeep to leverage the benefits of economies of scale.
In the Wrangler, the 4xe powertrain consists of a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, an electric motor integrated into an eight-speed automatic transmission, and a 17-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. Jeep pegs the system's total output at 375 horsepower and a stout 470 pound-feet of torque.
Meunier didn't reveal when the Gladiator 4xe will make its debut, but we're expecting to see it before the end of 2021, likely as a 2022 model. It will be joined in showrooms by a gasoline-electric version of the new Grand Cherokee, which will go on sale in the coming months. Don't look for another diesel engine in the range, however.
"There won't be a diesel Grand Cherokee, and I'm not going to elaborate about diesel and the future of diesel and things like that because I think you know," he said, alluding to stringent emissions regulations around the globe.
Motorists in big diesel markets, like Europe and Australia, will undoubtedly miss the oil-burning model, but Meunier stressed that electrification will help Jeep expand its horizons by offering customers the ability to explore the great outdoors — or the great strip mall parking lot — using electricity without range anxiety. The firm's smaller models will be electrified, too. It unveiled plug-in versions of the Renegade and the Compass in 2020.
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