In conjunction with the arrival of its first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), Jeep and Electrify America are building a new charging station network to service the new 2021 Wrangler 4xe and other upcoming Jeep PHEV models. Plans call for locating the Jeep 4xe Charging Network stations at popular trailheads.
The first of the chargers will go online by summer at Moab (Utah), the Rubicon Trail (in Pollock Pines, Calif.), and Big Bear (Calif.). The charging sites are part of the Jeep Badge of Honor digital rewards program, through which drivers check-in and complete off-road trails to receive a hard badge to display on their vehicle. Additional Jeep 4xe Charging Network locations will roll out in the next 12 months.
The Jeep 4xe Charging Network will provide access to 240-volt Level 2 charging stations, some powered by renewable solar electricity, and Jeep owners will be able to charge their vehicles for free by using a custom Electrify America mobile app. Each station should fully recharge the Wrangler 4xe’s 17-kilowatt-hour battery pack in about two hours, though Jeep expects most owners to simply top off the battery in a shorter amount of time.
Jeep Brand Chief Executive Officer Christian Meunier states that the approach is part of the automaker’s broader sustainability commitment. “Key to making Jeep brand the greenest SUV brand is assuring our owners can enjoy the benefits of electric propulsion wherever they go, including the most iconic off-road trails in the country,” Meunier said in a statement.
The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe arrives in dealerships soon and is rated to deliver 21 miles of pure electric driving before switching to gas-electric hybrid operation and returning 20 mpg in combined driving. Through Jeep’s E Selec system, the driver can select the type of power that best suits their driving. E Selec also includes an eSave mode, allowing drivers to run the Wrangler 4xe solely on its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine to save the 4xe’s battery charge for later use, such as on a trail that is some distance from the day’s starting point.
Jeep’s 4xe Charging Network announcement follows several other manufacturers providing lifestyle-driven EV charging networks. Electric truck and SUV manufacturer Rivian recently announced its planned Adventure Network, a free DC fast-charging network across the U.S. and Canada accessible only to Rivian owners. Tesla’s proprietary network of fast-charging stations, dubbed Tesla Superchargers, recently exceeded 600 stations in 27 countries.
Meanwhile, other manufacturers opt for more comprehensive solutions. Volvo’s partnership with ChargePoint is one example, providing access to 99% of all public DC fast chargers nationwide.