Jeep CEO doesn't rule out a hybrid powertrain for the Recon EV

Recently installed Jeep CEO Antonio Filosa has a lot of hard yards ahead, his agenda for the brand including a return to one million annual sales globally, figuring out a marketing angle that entices hardcore Jeepers and casuals sniffing around the show floor, improving reliability, improving dealer relations, and navigating an even more stormy transition to electric vehicles. On the latter note, Jeep will launch two battery-electric models soon, the Wagoneer S this year, then the Recon late this year or in early 2025, the first products to reach the market here that sit on the STLA Large platform developed by parent company Stellantis.

The Wagoneer S is sized about like the Grand Cherokee, but is expected to be hung with a price in Wagoneer territory, hence the luxury designation. 

The Recon channels the spirit of the Wrangler and is sized about like the Wrangler, and even has doors that come off and Trail Rated badges. The most important difference between the two is that the Recon gets that skateboard-style unibody architecture, whereas the Wrangler is body-on-frame currently and will remain so when it goes electric, utilizing Stellantis’ STLA Frame platform that the electrified Ram pickups are going on. This means the Recon is more geared toward the urban dweller who wants to be able to answer any call of nature, as opposed to the Wrangler’s overt nature-forward posture.  

In light of market trends for EVs — still growing market share, but not nearly quickly enough to justify previous levels of investment — Filosa’s been asked twice in the past month about the chances of the Wagoneer S and Recon being fitted for a hybrid powertrain instead of being electric-only. He responded the same way to both questioners, telling Automotive News and Autocar that the Wagoneer S will stay the course as BEV only. There’s some flexibility with the Recon, however. Filosa explained to Autocar, “[While] being faithful to our main strategy of deep electrification, we can think about opportunities on Recon. Let’s see: Recon will be built on a platform that is very versatile,” clarifying with, “We are just studying [development on the Recon] and just analyzing if there are options for the future — but so far it’s BEV.”

Such a move would also align with Filosa’s “Freedom of choice” mantra with respect to powertrains. He told Autonews, “Better, to us, means more freedom of choice and means to provide a lineup that has different propulsion opportunities for our customers. What we have now is a full range of offerings that, probably, our competitors will be later to get to.” It would align with moves elsewhere in the Stellantis empire, too. Jeep added a hybrid powertrain to the electric Avenger, Fiat did the same for the European 600, and is considering doing the same again for the new 500. 

We’re a long way from a hybrid Recon, but not because of engineering issues; the STLA Large chassis is ready to accept an ICE power plant. If a hybrid Recon did happen, though, it would give the Recon another shared touchpoint with the Wrangler. And perhaps a Recon PHEV could join in the Wrangler PHEV’s success; the Wrangler 4xe and Grand Cherokee 4xe were the two best-selling plug-in hybrids in the nation in 2022 and 2023, and the brand anticipates selling 175,000 PHEVs this year. 

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