Jeep revealed the 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe, the first plug-in hybrid version of the automaker’s best-selling SUV. It is the second Jeep vehicle to get an electrified version, following the hybrid 2021 Wrangler 4xe released last year. Jeep also announced an off-roading version of the Grand Cherokee, the Trailhawk, which also comes with a hybrid motor.
Tellingly, Jeep is not announcing a pure electric version of the Grand Cherokee, nor selling any battery-electric vehicles. The automaker recently announced that it would release “zero-emission” versions of all of its vehicles by 2025, along with plug-hybrid variants.
The Grand Cherokee 4xe (“four by E” in Jeep parlance) is estimated to get 25 miles of all-electric range and 57 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) for a total driving range of more than 440 miles (708 km). Jeep says that its plug-in hybrid propulsion system includes two electric motors, a 400-volt battery pack, 2.0-liter turbocharged, four-cylinder engine, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Overall, the 4xe system delivers 375 horsepower (280 kW) and 470 lb.-ft. (637 Nm) of torque.
Drivers can tailor the energy output to best suit their driving situation. There are three modes to choose from: Hybrid, which blends torque from the electric motor and gas engine; Electric, which operates on zero-emission electric power only until the battery is depleted; and eSave, which prioritizes the engine, saving the battery charge for later use.
Owners can monitor the hybrid system through the infotainment screen, as well as the amount of power created by regenerative braking. Regen can be adjusted for minimum and maximum levels to best suit driving styles and the amount of power it creates. Drivers can also schedule charging times to take advantage of lower electric rates and view their driving history with detail of electric and gasoline usage.
The Grand Cherokee’s 4xe system also includes something called an Integrated Dual Charging Module (ICDM) that combines a battery charger and a DC/DC converter in a single unit and a Power Inverter Module (PIM) that is reduced in size. These are mounted under the vehicle and protected with steel shields.
Jeep’s are meant to be taken off-road, and as such, the company claims its electronic are properly sealed and waterproofed. Jeep says the Grand Cherokee 4xe is capable of water fording up to 24 inches.
Jeep did not announce pricing for the 2022 Grand Cherokee, though if the Wrangler’s window-sticker price is any indication, it won’t be cheap. (The 2021 Wrangler 4xe Sahara starts at $52,520, the Rubicon at $56,220, and the High Altitude at $58,340.) The federal EV tax credit of $7,500 should take some of the sting out of it.
Whether customers flock to Jeep’s new hybrid powertrains remains untested. The Wall Street Journal’s Dan Neil recently panned the 2021 Wrangler 4xe, calling it “shameless greenwashing, unable to clear the lowest speed bump of skepticism.”
The company, which is an iconic American brand, has been slow to embrace electric vehicle technology compared to its competitors. Whether the new Grand Cherokee can help Jeep pick up the pace remains to be seen.