Typically, the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah is where Jeep pulls out all the stops and reveals a number of customized Jeeps and restomod versions – usually, there isn’t a huge amount of reveals of all-new products. It’s more of a celebration of all things Jeep.
For 2021, however, things were a little different for a number of reasons. Chief among these was the fact that there was no event last year due to pandemic-related travel and gathering restrictions, so for ’21, they have some catching up to do. Also, while this year did have the requisite concepts, one was a little more notable than the others in that it could very well be a production model some day soon.
Here’s a look at what Jeep has in store for the event this year.
Jeep Magneto Concept
While this concept’s nomenclature will surely draw allusions to the famous X-Men character, it goes further than that because it also uses a – wait for it – “axial flux electric motor” which sounds like something out of a certain time-travelling franchise starring a certain infamous stainless-steel car with scissor doors.
According to head of global Jeep design Mark Allen, however, the name really has nothing to do with either of those things.
“The power of an electric vehicle is magnets being attracted to other magnets,” he said. So, “Magneto” it is.
At any rate; the Magneto is a fully-electrified Jeep that makes similar power to models equipped with the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine, that is to say about 285 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque fed to all four wheels through a manual transmission. Yes, you read that right: a battery-electric vehicle with a proper manual transmission with a gearlever and a clutch.
“We left the manual transmission in place because we wanted to experience the gearing,”, said Allen. “The torque comes on very early and is very controllable with the electric motor.” You don’t have to use the clutch while moving slowly off-road, though, so while you do get to experience the feel of a manual transmission, there’s less of the discomfort of having to work the clutch.
There are four lithium-ion battery packs with a combined power of 70 kWh, and they are distributed evenly within the chassis to ensure that weight balance is just right.
Other than that, the Magneto is a retrofit so the rest of the systems – the axles, the suspension and so on – are all standard Wrangler, though the Magneto has also been given a winch, two-inch lift kit, 35” tires, custom roll cage and Mopar rock rails.
The Magneto is just a concept for now, but Jeep did say that they are currently working on developing it and should have more of a production model in 2-3 years’ time. When you consider that like most manufacturers, the future for Jeep is electrification, you can see while vehicles like the Magneto and soon-to-arrive 4xe plug-in are ultra important to the brand.