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Jeep Plans To Electrify 70% of Global Sales by 2025!
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Christian Meunier, Jeep’s global CEO, is on the road this week, demonstrating the two worlds in which the brand spans. He spent a few days off-roading in Moab, Utah, in electric concept Wranglers, gathering input from the brand’s die-hard enthusiasts who were there for the adventure. Then it was back to reality with the New York International Auto Show.
A completely electric SUV from the tough brand won’t be available until next year. So Meunier has unveiled long-wheelbase variants of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer in Manhattan, Jeep’s long-awaited entry into the lucrative three-row SUV segment. The expanded variants come with a new “Hurricane” twin-turbo engine. The Grand Wagoneer L now achieves 16 miles per gallon in both city and highway driving.
It doesn’t quite fit with Jeep’s new “Zero Emission Freedom” slogan. However, like much of the auto industry, Stellantis NV, the owner of Jeep, is hoping that earnings from gas-guzzlers will be used to support the electrical future. While other worldwide companies have established objectives for phasing out the combustion engine, Jeep has yet to declare a timeline for going totally electric, despite the fact that gas-powered cars account for 97 percent of all automobiles sold in the United States.
Stellantis is only now entering the race in the United States. Sergio Marchionne, the late Chief Executive Officer of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, built Jeep into a worldwide cash cow, but he refused to invest in electrification, claiming it was a financial loss.
Stellantis isn’t the only traditional carmaker using income from gas-powered vehicles to fund advances in electric vehicles. BMW also displayed a massive SUV in New York, while General Motors and Ford Motor Co. keep relying on fuel sales for SUVs and trucks.
Jeep, on the other hand, has been releasing hybrid cars. The Wrangler 4xe, which debuted in late 2020, now accounts for 25% to 30% of Wrangler sales, while a new hybrid Grand Cherokee showcased in New York will be available to dealers later this spring.
But, as Tesla Inc. presses ahead with ever greater and bolder battery aspirations, Marchionne’s hold-out policy has left the firm further behind the curve than its competitors. For the 2020 model year, Stellantis, which has been at the bottom of the EPA’s fuel efficiency rankings for years, had a fleet average of 21.3 miles per gallon, compared to an industry average of 25.4 miles.
According to Sam Abuelsamid, principal research analyst at Guidehouse Insights, the company’s recent merger will help it satisfy tougher emissions goals, while the drive towards luxury will soften the high price of EV powertrains.
Gas costs may be an issue for the Wagoneer, according to Jim Morrison, head of Jeep North America, but purchasers of luxury SUVs like the Grand Wagoneer, which begins at $88,640, have been less sensitive to pump pricing. According to him, the L variants have a strong commercial justification since some consumers simply desire a larger vehicle.
Jeep is also under pressure from regulators to electrify more quickly. The Biden administration announced more stringent gas mileage objectives earlier this month in order to accelerate the development of electric vehicles. Under the agency’s testing scheme, automakers must attain an average fuel economy of 49 mpg for their entire fleets by 2030.
Last year, Stellantis revealed in a regulatory filing that the company might be liable for up to €684 million ($741 million) in fuel-economy fines. Currency changes and more sales, though, may push the company’s overall obligation to €840 million ($908 million). For the last two years, Jeep has been factoring increasingly rigorous fuel efficiency regulations into its product roadmap, and an assault of huge electric SUVs is on the way, Meunier said.