Thanks to China.
China is a behemoth in the auto industry, the largest car market in the world, which means it has enough pull to sway automakers’ decisions. The country and its vast market are one reason why Jeep and others are beginning to electrify their models, and that’ll be a boon for U.S consumers as well. Christian Meunier, Jeep’s global boss, spoke with Car and Driver about the brand’s plans, detailing how the automaker plans to bring as many electric Jeeps here as it can.
To start, Jeep will begin by launching three electrified models – Compass, Renegade, and Wrangler – next year. That’s half of Jeep’s lineup. After that, as the new decade passes, Jeep will begin offering fully electric Jeeps. Meunier also noted Jeep would offer an electrified version of every model by 2022, a year later than earlier rumors suggested.
Off-road enthusiasts could quiver at such a notion, but past Meunier comments suggest EV Jeeps won’t be watered-down grocery getters. Last month, Meunier said electric Jeeps would be “the best Jeeps ever built.” Part of Meunier’s mission since taking over the Jeep brand has been to focus more on tech and less on amenities. Hybridization is the first step to an all-electric future, even if hybrid sales remain abysmal.
Gallery: Jeep Plug-In Hybrids At CES 2020
Quiet, electric motoring out in mother nature does sound pleasant, though convincing enthusiasts of electrified off-roading could be Jeep’s biggest hurdle. Meunier has said the U.S., China, and Europe are critical to the future success of EVs. If China is luring automakers to make more electrified vehicles, then that makes offering them in the U.S. much more manageable.
China taxes cars by engine size, which makes larger engines cost-prohibitive to a budding middle class. Electric and hybrid vehicles are exceptions to the rules, providing customers with performance at an affordable price. The auto industry is changing, and Jeep, like others, is adapting.