How times have changed. It wasn’t that long ago we were reporting on the mad Trailcat, a Dodge Hellcat-engined Wrangler with no doors that had been built for the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab. In stark contrast, the headliner for this year’s group of Moab concepts is fully electric.
This is the Wrangler-based Jeep Magneto, which uses a “custom-built axial flux motor” to power the wheels via, wait for it, a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s operated just like any other stick shift, clutch pedal and all.
Four battery packs providing a combined 70kWh are dotted about the Magneto for optimum weight distribution. One is where the Wrangler’s mid-mounted fuel tank used to be, another in a space opposite, the third above the electric motor where the engine normally sits, and the fourth and final pack lives in a space usually reserved for the rear end of the exhaust system.
Power and torque figures are similar to that of the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 available in the production Wrangler, giving a respectable 0-60mph time of 6.8 seconds. So it’s ready for Moab-spec terrain, the Magneto has been upgraded with a two-inch lift kit, 35-inch mud-terrain tyres and Mopar Rock Rails.
The Magneto is, we suspect, a very early preview of a production all-electric Wrangler. It wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see the incoming hybrid Wrangler joined by a derivative fully powered by electricity, albeit without the weird gearbox.
Revealed alongside this Jeep which looks to the future is one with its sights set firmly in the past. The Jeepster Beach (above) is a restomod which is a 1968 Jeepster Commando “seamlessly blended” with a modern Wrangler Rubicon. So, while it’s thoroughly old-school on the outside, it’s properly modern under the skin, with a 267bhp, 295lb ft engine under the bonnet. The 2.0-litre inline-four drives a 4:1 transfer case via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The Red Bare (above) is a Wrangler Gladiator Rubicon that’s been given an especially hardcore makeover. It features Dana 44 heavy-duty axles front and rear, an additional two inches of ground clearance, rock rails and 37-inch BF Goodrich mud-terrain tyres.
It’s finished in ‘Firecracker Red’ with matte black and gold accents, while on the inside, black leather seats are contrasted with red flannel trim. Lovely.
Finally, there’s the ‘Orange Peelz’ (above), a two-door Wrangler with a few nods to the vehicle’s “open-air heritage” courtesy of a lack of side and rear windows. It also gets prototype JPP half doors, and a removable one-piece sunroof which is called a ‘Freedom Top’. Because of course it is.
The Orange Peelz gets a similar complement of off-road goodies to the Red Bare, with a two-inch lift kit and 37-inch mud-terrain boots on beadlock capable wheels. There’s also a set of hardy Fox dampers and a 3600kg-capable winch.