Jeep is celebrating its 80th anniversary this month, with July 15, 1941 marking its official beginning. That’s when former Willys-Overland Company signed a contract with the US War Department to begin production of the first military Jeep vehicle.
Eighty years on, Jeep looks to the future with electrification on its mind. Yes, the future of the rugged Jeep is electric, too, and the “Jeep Electrified” video released for the brand’s 80th birthday is pretty clear about that. At the end of the video, Jeep shows the all-electric Wrangler driving completely submerged while fish swim around it, with the caption reading “Fictionalization. Do not attempt.”
Now, the Jeep Wrangler JL is known for its off-road abilities, which include a wading depth of 30 inches (762 mm). As impressive as that may be, driving completely submerged is a totally different thing and would require massive improvements to be made to the bodywork.
First of all, the Wrangler would have to be 100% watertight not only to prevent water from entering the cabin but also the battery pack, motors, and electronics. Achieving that in a production vehicle would be both very difficult and costly, and we’re not sure people would want to bear the cost of that.
Still, if any type of vehicle was capable of driving underwater, it would have to be an EV because an all-electric powertrain does not need to suck in air and has no exhaust gases to evacuate.
The part with the all-electric Wrangler doubling as a submarine appears to be an extension of the autonomous off-roading system that appears earlier in the video. It seems to suggest that an owner would be able to go hiking and instruct the Wrangler where to meet them. The Jeep would then figure out how to get to the meeting point, including by driving on the bottom of a river.
By now, you probably think we’re reading too much into this; after all, it’s just promotional material. You could be right because Jeep’s global boss Christian Meunier described the video as light-hearted and futuristic in nature, albeit “reflective of our plans and vision.” And then he also said the following.
“We’ve added a few nice features and one at the end which is more of a wink to the future, but something that could be a dream after 2030. Maybe not a dream though?”
Besides the part where the Wrangler doubles as a submarine, the video shows other possible features the all-electric off-roader could offer when it launches (sometime by 2025). One is Dynamic Tire Pressure, which would presumably adjust tire pressure based on the conditions. The second is Jeep Multi-Power Port, which appears to let drivers use the Wrangler’s battery to power a campsite.
More about Jeep's electrification plans