Plug in baby

Jeep unveils its first plug-in hybrid variant of the Grand Cherokee

There still aren’t any pure-electric vehicles in the Jeep lineup.

Jeep has unveiled a plug-in hybrid version of its Grand Cherokee SUV.

Jeep has announced the 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe, the first-ever plug-in hybrid version of the company’s best-selling SUV. The company last year released a similar hybrid version of the Wrangler, called the Wrangler 4xe.

It’s a bit disappointing that the American automaker still offers no pure-electric vehicles. Jeep has said that it will release zero-emissions versions of all of its vehicles by 2025, but that’s still a ways off. At least the Grand Cherokee 4xe is supposed to get good mileage, with 25 miles of range using just the battery or 57 miles per gallon. For comparison, a 2021 Grand Cherokee with a standard engine gets 26 miles per gallon on the highway.

Like other hybrid cars, the Grand Cherokee 4xe can recharge its battery using regenerative braking to try and eke more mileage out of the battery.

Early this year, Jeep used the 2021 Super Bowl to show off a fully electric vehicle, but it was more of a concept meant to promote the idea that Jeep would someday go electric and that you should totally get excited.

There are different ways to take advantage of the battery in the vehicle, which can be controlled via the infotainment system. You can drive in Hybrid mode, where torque is blended from the electric motor and gas engine to provide zippy acceleration. There’s also Electric, where you’re relying solely on the battery until it’s depleted, while eSave prioritizes the gas engine, only using the battery when it’s absolutely needed (AKA, when you’re out of gas).

Why so lame? — At least Jeep is doing something to decrease the carbon footprint of its vehicles. And being such an iconic American brand, there will surely be plenty of people willing to buy an electric Jeep even years from now after other automotive companies have already released fully electrified fleets. The cars are marketed towards rugged outdoor use, and there’s still an opening in the EV market for cars like that. But Jeep is just going painfully slow when other players like GM and Ford, and upstarts like Rivian, are investing heavily and bringing new EVs to market rapidly.

Pricing for the 2022 Grand Cherokee 4xe hasn’t been announced, but it probably won’t be cheap. The 2021 Wrangler 4xe starts at $52,220, though a federal tax credit of $7,500 will take out a bit of the sting.