One of the largest challenges that we face in the upcoming era of vehicle electrification involves our country’s lack of a comprehensive charging network. And while there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to help support the ever-growing fleet of electric cars in the United States, Jeep has just announced a new 4xe Charging Network of their own. Working in tandem with the folks at Electrify America, the automaker will be installing Level 2 charging stations at Jeep Badge of Honor off-road trailheads to help support their Wrangler 4xe and future electrified models.
“Electrification opens a new chapter in the Jeep brand story, and it brings an entirely new level of excitement and enjoyment to our enthusiastic owners,” said Jeep CEO Christian Meunier. “Key to making Jeep brand the greenest SUV brand is assuring our owners can enjoy the benefits of electric propulsion wherever they go, including the most iconic off-road trails in the country.”
According to Jeep, three of these trailhead 4xe Charging Stations are slated to open this spring. The automaker has decided to start the rollout with the most famous Badge of Honor trails: Moab, Rubicon Trail, and Big Bear. These Level 2 charging stations provide 240 volt capacity, and will either be tied directly into the grid or will be solar-powered units. This means that a Jeep Wrangler 4xe can top off its 17 kilowatt-hour battery pack in two hours at one of these stations. That is quite a while to gain a mere 21 miles of range, but most off-roaders will likely opt to utilize the hybrid function of the powertrain anyway
Speaking of the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, owners of that particular model will be treated to free access to these charging stations via a mobile app. Jeep hasn’t offered any specifics as to how long the program will be cost-free, but it is a gratuitous gesture nonetheless. We assume that this trend will continue as more Jeep hybrid and full-electric vehicles come to market.
The Jeep 4xe Charging Network is obviously not a solution for the ongoing charging issue that keeps folks out of EVs, but it does help owners of their hybrid models out on the trails. And when you consider that off-road capability is one of the main selling points behind a Jeep product, this does seem like a logical first step. That said, they aren’t necessarily the first ones to have this idea. Rivian already made plans to do something very similar, but Jeep has beaten them to the punch. And in this business, that is all that really matters.