The brand behind America’s best-selling plug-in hybrid vehicle has a lot more coming on the electrified front. And the menu of options will be pretty long.

This week, Jeep introduced the production Wagoneer S, the brand’s first battery-electric vehicle intended for global sales, at an event in New York City. During the unveiling, recently-appointed Jeep CEO Antonio Filosa also confirmed that, by the end of 2025, the Jeep Gladiator truck, Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will all offer optional 4xe plug-in hybrid options. 

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Jeep's electrification strategy

Jeep is new to the fully electric space, but its plug-in hybrid Wrangler 4xe has proven extremely popular. It will run the same playbook in the next few years as more EVs and hybrids get added to the family. 

By 2027, Filosa said, Jeep will have two BEV offerings—Wagoneer S and boxier and more rugged-looking Recon—several 4xe range-extended hybrids, and conventional internal-combustion vehicles. Which propulsion technology will define Jeep’s future? The answer, for now, seems to be a definitive “we’ll see.”

“The priority, first and foremost, is growth,” Bill Peffer, Senior Vice President and Head of Jeep Brand, North America, told InsideEVs at the Wagoneer S media preview. “We’re doing it through a strategy of freedom of choice. We’ll either amp up or maybe pump the brakes on where the [EV] technology adoption rate is, and let the customer choose.”

Gallery: 2024 Jeep Wagoneer S Live Photos

Growth is a bit of a concern for Jeep at the moment. To set the stakes for this diverse electrification strategy, it’s key to note that Jeep’s plan to move more upmarket, often with $100,000+ SUVs, has largely backfired. As a result of these increased prices—and with no small thanks to rising interest rates—Jeep has seen a steep sales decline in recent years. U.S. Jeep sales were down more than 300,000 cars in 2023 from their peak in 2018, a trend Filosa and his team are urgently trying to reverse.

But Jeep is going to do that in ways that don’t involve as many of the big, gas-guzzling engines it depended on in past decades.

During a keynote speech preceding the unveiling of the Wagoneer S, Filosa told journalists that Jeep currently offers models in about 45% of vehicle segments—and the company wants to reach 85%. The all-electric Wagoneer S aims to compete in the “premium midsize utility vehicle” market, one rung above the current Grand Cherokee. (That may also inform why Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares announced a $25,000 electric Jeep model, but that vehicle is probably years away.) 

2023 Jeep Wrangler Willys 4xe

2023 Jeep Wrangler Willys 4xe

“This is the first time we’ve offered a fully battery-electric version of a Jeep,” Peffer said. “We can expand and try to conquest some of our [EV] competition—they're big and we won't name 'em, but we've got our eyes on who else is competing in that space, and we want some of it.” In new ads, the Wagoneer S is clearly aimed at the Tesla Model Y, so even if Peffer won’t say it, it’s picking a fight with the biggest guy in the yard.

The trick, according to Peffer, is to enter this new territory without disrupting the conventional Jeep customer. “It’s exciting for us because with our existing lineup, we already enjoy some of the highest loyalty. Grand Cherokee's got the highest loyalty in the segment, over 35 percent. So we don't want to abandon our customer base.”

The Wagoneer S is built on Stellantis’ new STLA Large platform, a modular architecture destined to underpin products from Dodge, Jeep, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, and Maserati. Despite its name, it is mechanically unrelated to the current gas-powered Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.

STLA Large was designed “from the bottom up” as a BEV platform, Peffer told InsideEVs, but the architecture can accommodate hybrid and internal-combustion drivetrains too—and at the Wagoneer S launch event, Jeep representatives were quick to indicate that the company is willing to pivot to whichever propulsion system fits the moment. 

Gallery: 2024 Jeep Recon

“We're not trying to be evasive, but we're looking at the dynamic of where the market is,” Peffer said. “We’re not the first into this [EV] space, there are other competitors already there. So we’ve learned a bit, we’ve watched the industry, we’ll watch what happens in the segment, [and] we can amp up or we can throttle back a bit.”

A similar strategy is playing out across the rest of the Stellantis family of brands. The new Ram 1500 Ramcharger uses a version of one STLA electric platform with a gas engine as a range extender, and Fiat is also adding an engine back into the previously all-electric new 500. While the conglomerate is going big into the all-electric space after years of lagging behind some rivals, it’s also building in ways to hedge its bets. That may not sit well with the hardcore EV faithful, but the success of the plug-in Wrangler 4xe may show that the company is onto something.

Asked specifically about the possibility of a Wagoneer S with a range-extending internal combustion engine, Peffer was noncommittal. “I can't confirm a specific technology like a range extender, but the flexibility of STLA provides opportunities which are interesting, right? The platform's built to allow for that flexibility and move as the market moves.” 

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