First Look at the 2023 Jeep Magneto Concept: Is This the All-Electric Wrangler?

When we saw the first Jeep Magneto concept in 2021, it floored the off-road world. Hybrid Jeeps were no longer surprises—but an all-electric Wrangler? That still seemed more like a distant dream than a reality. Could voracious Jeep enthusiasts ever back a fully electric powertrain? Jeep engineers sought to find out.

The Magneto’s first iteration featured an axial flux electric motor from Webasto where the internal combustion engine once sat, and it delivered 285 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. The motor was powered by four lithium-ion battery packs with combined storage of 70 kWh, as well as an 800-volt architecture. This powered, the Magneto could accelerate from a standing stop to 60 mph in a claimed 6.8 seconds. The motor was mated to an old-school six-speed manual gearbox and the stout Rubicon running gear.

Magneto 2.0: More Power

Magneto 2.0 was significantly reworked when it debuted a year ago to show off the power potential of an electric Wrangler. Peak amperage in the propulsion system was doubled to 600 amps, which enabled 625 horsepower and 850 lb-ft of torque. The first gear ratio in the manual transmission was changed from 5.13:1 to 3.36:1, as well, and Jeep added an additional 12 inches to the wheelbase. The second Magneto’s list of off-road attributes included a three-inch suspension lift kit, 40-inch tires, a Dynatrac ProRock 60 front axle, a Dynatrac ProRock 80 rear axle, 5.38:1 diff gears, diff lockers, and more. TL;DR: The significantly more powerful Magneto 2.0 could run from 0-60 in about two seconds (!), and it packed the beefy underpinnings to handle all that power.

The Final Magneto Concept

Enter Magneto 3.0, said to more directly preview the final form of the electric Jeep Wrangler. The stretched body, heavy duty running gear, and 40-inch tires remain unchanged, with Jeep instead focusing on upgrades to the electric propulsion system to make it a more competent trail tool.

The Magneto 3.0’s new, more efficient axial flux motor comes with fresh programming that is said to increase its max torque output to 900 lb-ft while also facilitating a 20 percent increase in usable energy and range. Jeep added utility with two selectable power settings: Standard, giving the driver access to 285 horsepower and 273 lb-ft, and Maximum, which unleashes 650 horsepower and full 900 lb-ft of twist.

Similar to the feature found in the Jeep 4xe vehicles, Magneto 3.0 now comes with an enhanced power regeneration mode that can be turned off for normal driving and engaged on the trails.

When the transfer case is in low-range, an “aggressive hill-descent mode” can be selected, giving the driver one-pedal control over the vehicle for precision in rocky terrain or while descending hills. The regenerative brake, hill descent, and selectable power are all controlled via dash-mounted switches. A fourth switch labeled ‘Air’ could indicate the Jeep is now using the AccuAir pneumatic suspension, which would allow for on-the-fly adjustments to the Jeep’s lift height.

Is This the Future Electric Jeep?

It’s hard to believe that a production electric Jeep Wrangler would offer a manual gearbox, especially when the only real function of the Magneto 3.0’s clutch pedal is to interrupt power while changing gears. It can start off in any gear, too. A direct drive EV motor would make more sense when the electric Wrangler reaches production, as would swapping from the two-door bodies of the Magneto concepts to the four-door Unlimited—the better to stash more batteries for range. But in just two short years, it’s become clear the electric Wrangler isn’t a matter of if, but when. We’re ready for it.

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