An Electric Jeep Wrangler With a Stick Shift? Please Say It’s Not Just a Concept.
The automaker never disappoints with its annual Easter Jeep Safari off-road builds
The annual Easter Jeep Safari is one of the most joyful events on the off-roading calendar, namely because it’s not just for the people who attend in-person in Utah. In conjunction with the weeklong event hosted by Red Rock 4-Wheelers, Jeep builds a number of concept vehicles to showcase what’s possible with their SUVs. It’s a week of trail rides in Moab and a week of off-road inspiration for everyone else, which is why it was such a bummer when the event was canceled last year (for the first in 53 years) because of the pandemic.
Thankfully the Jeep Safari is back in business this year from this Saturday, March 27, until Sunday, April 4 (with a number of COVID safety measures in place). For all of us who won’t be attending, Jeep has pulled out all the stops this year for its four new concepts, which include two variations on the Wrangler, a Gladiator truck and a reworked Jeepster Commando from the ‘60s.
The star of the show is the Wrangler which has been christened the Jeep Magneto. It’s an all-electric version of the SUV, the first battery electric vehicle ever from Jeep, which already makes it a monumental build. But what’s most intriguing is that despite the electrified powertrain, it also includes a stick shift. Yes, you read that right.
“Based on a two-door 2020 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, the Jeep Magneto uses a custom-built axial flux electric motor that operates up to 6,000 rpm,” Jeep wrote in a press release. “The e-motor is connected to a six-speed manual transmission, creating a unique manual-electric powertrain with a clutch that operates as it would with an internal combustion engine. In quick-shift scenarios, the e-motor engages regen upon clutch engagement to prevent rev-hang.”
Of course, there’s no real reason to pair a stick shift with an electric vehicle (though it is something we’ve seen before, on a Mustang from Ford proper and a Bronco from Zero Labs). It’s purely for the tactile nostalgia, sort of like tortured college students who see themselves as the next Hemingway and buy typewriters even though they’ve got MacBooks in their dorm. But hey, we do concede that typewriters have a certain charm that can’t be matched by more efficient modern technology, and the same goes for the stick shift.
The other three new concepts include the Jeepster Beach, a restomod 1968 Jeepster Commando (C-101) that features a two-tone paint job with the colors “Hazy IPA” and “Zinc Oxide”; the Red Bare, a take on the Gladiator Rubicon truck with an enhanced 91:1 crawl ratio and some red flannel inserts in the seats; and the Orange Peelz, the other Wrangler, which features a ton of extras from Jeep Performance Parts (as do all of the builds), including prototype half doors.
They’re also bringing along three concepts created with Mopar that didn’t get a chance to stretch their legs in 2020 due to the fallout from the coronavirus, including the overlanding Gladiator Farout, the Wrangler Rubicon 392 (which includes a V8) and the Gladiator Top Dog (which includes a hot dog cooker).
We’re hoping the Magneto EV is a sign of things to come for Jeep, not least of all because Magneto is the best name for an electric car we’ve ever heard. If you want to read more about these concepts, Roadshow has a more detailed breakdown.
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