Jeep's all-electric Wrangler concept is a disappointing hack job

This is what you do when you believe the world will continue buying gas vehicles.

The Jeep Wrangler Magneto concept front

Jeep has taken the cover off its “Magneto” all-electric Jeep Wrangler concept, and the results are, well, disappointing. Anyone who was hoping they could soon purchase an all-electric Jeep should forget about it, as the vehicle that the company unveiled today is nothing more than a DIY hack job that’s unlikely to enter production.

Underwhelming — The Magneto would be a dream for outdoorsy types who want a rock-climbing electric vehicle. It was first teased during the Super Bowl through a website titled “The Road Ahead,” which makes this week’s unveiling even more of a flop. That’s because this car is nothing more than a standard Wrangler with the combustion engine yanked out and replaced with batteries.

Because it was built on a frame designed for a combustion engine and motor, the 70 kWh battery was broken up and spread out around the vehicle:

Powering the Jeep Magneto’s e-motor are four battery packs with a combined power of 70 kW/h, running an 800-volt system. The lithium-ion batteries are distributed around the Wrangler to balance weight on the four wheels. One pack replaces the Wrangler’s mid-ship fuel tank, another is mounted opposite the fuel tank location, the third pack sits atop the e-motor under the hood and the fourth pack mounts in the space normally used for a rear storage compartment, also using space typically occupied by the exhaust muffler.

Based on the data, the vehicle could maybe expect a range of 200 miles on a charge, though Jeep doesn’t specify. The company does say that the car hits 0-60mph in 6.8 seconds and delivers 273 lb/ft of torque.

Behind the times — The Magneto was likely quite expensive for Jeep to make as it uses a manual transmission from a combustion car. Electric cars do not need multi-speed transmissions because they can provide consistent amounts of torque at both low and high RPM speeds, whereas a gas car needs to adjust its gears to do that; including a transmission in an electric car actually creates inefficiencies. But it’s a lot cheaper for Jeep to cobble something together on an existing Wrangler platform than create an entirely new vehicle designed around an electric powertrain.

At a time when the rest of the automotive industry is finally accepting the inevitability of electric, however, it looks a lot like Jeep has no real electrification plan.