2016 Jeep WranglerEnlarge Photo
Jeep is hard at work developing its next-generation Wrangler, which is expected to feature some substantial changes aimed at improving fuel economy. We now know that among those changes will be availability of diesel and hybrid powertrains.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] confirmed the changes in a presentation made to investors this week. The presentation also outlined plans to delay Alfa Romeo’s product schedule, plus plans to ramp up SUV and pickup truck production at other FCA brands.
But getting back to FCA’s plans for diesel and hybrid Wranglers, FCA says it needs to offer these “advanced powertrains” to meet tougher fuel economy and emissions regulations. The new Wrangler will arrive sometime in 2017.
Soon after launch, it will receive some efficiency tweaks such as a mild hybrid system, where brake energy is recovered to charge up a battery that can be used to power ancillary features such as the air conditioner. Towards the end of the decade, a diesel-powered Wrangler will arrive. And around 2022 we’ll be seeing a proper gasoline-electric Wrangler hybrid.
Other initiatives FCA will employ to improve the economy of its fleet include building lighter vehicles by utilizing high-strength steels and other lightweight materials; adding active aero systems to reduce drag; and adding fuel-saving electronic features such as axle disconnect technology and electronic power steering.
Production of the new Wrangler is on track to start at the current model’s plant in Toledo, Ohio in 2017, meaning the new off-roader should arrive as a 2018 model. This time around, there will also be a pickup variant.