Home » Jeep Dude On Facebook Discovers Plug-In Hybrids Exist, Decides EVs Maybe Aren’t So Bad

Jeep Dude On Facebook Discovers Plug-In Hybrids Exist, Decides EVs Maybe Aren’t So Bad

Wrangler Wtf
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As car journalists and enthusiasts, we have a great wealth of knowledge. We know the Corvette never had a V6, and we know the Mustang II was one of the all-time greats. We also know all about EVs, hybrids, and the many variants thereof. However, it’s easy to forget that this knowledge isn’t universal. There are still a great many people out there with lots of misconceptions around modern electrified vehicles.

A great case in point came to me via Facebook today. A proud Jeep owner was posting about picking up a Jeep Wrangler at a rental counter, only to be astounded at what he found. “Electric Wrangler but also gas WTF!!” he exclaimed.

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The whole concept was entirely new to him. He’d never heard of it. And yet, the Jeep Wrangler 4xe is the best-selling plug-in hybrid in America, with Jeep selling over 67,000 units in 2023 alone!

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You might expect this gentlemen to fit a certain mold as an EV hater, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. His first experience was clearly a positive one, as he calls the PHEV Wrangler a “gem” that he “didn’t know existed.”

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In fact, for this Jeep Gladiator owner, a little time with the Wrangler was enough to sell him on the concept of plug-in hybrids. “I can sign on to this kind of electric vehicle,” he says. He even questions whether the same technology was available on the Gladiator line! While it’s not yet out, a 4xe model is planned for the Jeep pickup. It’s expected to land around 2025.

It’s interesting to see how people genuinely react to these vehicles in the real world. It’s clear that using a plug-in hybrid changed things for this driver. But what it highlights most is that the message is not necessarily getting out there.

Jeep® Wrangler 4xe Powertrain Components. Highlighted Components
Stellantis is doing better than most. It currently has three of the best-selling PHEVs in America. But there’s still a contingent of people out there that haven’t heard of this technology.

Obviously, the car media regularly reports on new models and updates to existing lineups. We cover hybrid and electric vehicles all the time, even going into great detail about the engineering involved. Heck, at The Autopian, we’ve even covered obscure hybrid hacks for more power and extended range.

The thing is—not everybody reads car blogs. Or car magazines. And even if you do, you might be deep into Hot Rod Haven, Chrome Polisher Monthly, or other outlets focused on classics. In that case, you’d be entirely in the dark as to modern hybrid and EV tech.

Instead, a lot of these people—normies, if you will—pick up ideas and opinions elsewhere. They hear a TV host or online personality grousing about how some politician wants to kill old-fashioned values with electric cars. They hear friends or family members repeat such lines to indicate their membership of an in-group that hates these new-fangled cars. They begin to internalize these concepts. In some cases, they truthfully come to believe that EVs are the devil, incapable of getting you to the grocery store without running out of battery or exploding in a giant fireball.

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The electrified Wrangler has had no trouble finding a customer base. Build it, and they will come!

However, as this post shows, exposure to a real EV or hybrid can change all that. Nothing beats seeing the truth delivered by your own eyes and ears. This gentleman tried a Jeep hybrid, and loved it. Now he knows that these great vehicles are out there, and it’s already influencing his future purchasing intentions.

Automakers can do a lot to help in this regard. Advertising helps, as do educational efforts—but nothing trumps getting the vehicles out and about in the real world.  Putting customers behind the wheel goes a long way to dispelling notions that EVs and PHEVs are slow, dangerous, or incapable. Or any other misguided ideas people might have picked up! Indeed, it also shows them they exist in the first place, something some people are still unaware of!

We obviously have a bias in the industry. We’re across this stuff every day, so it’s no surprise to us. Think about it like this. Few car enthusiasts would do a double-take seeing a Tesla Cybertruck in the flesh. We’ve known about these things for years now, even if they’ve just hit the market. And yet, normies seeing these things out on the road are routinely astounded by them. If I showed up in a Tesla Cybertruck to a family dinner, I promise you many of my family members would be totally surprised  that I’d in a hulking truck with the aesthetic of a fancy modern fridge.

There’s a great comic from xkcd on this very topic. We tend to assume that knowledge about hybrids and EVs is widespread, but that’s an imperfect assumption. Credit: xkcd, license

Cars have a long lifetime, and they’re expensive. When new technology hits, it takes time for it to spread around to the point where the average punter on the street is familiar with it. EVs and plug-in hybrids are finally reaching that kind of saturation point. People are learning about these vehicles from friends and family, and because they’re now a common sight in rental fleets and the like.

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The lesson here is that real exposure is the best way to teach people about cars. You can say what you like on TV or on paper, and people may or may not believe you. But if you put them in the car and let them drive it around, they’ll get the real picture.

Image credits: Jeep, xkcd

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Habu
Habu
21 days ago

Regarding PHEVs in particular, I think it’s been a combination of small mindedness from both sides and poor messaging.

From the EV purists, they’ve poo-pooed PHEVs as an unnecessary step and waste of resources, and effectively gatekeeped full BEV as the only acceptable next step from ICE.

From the auto media industry, the common theme regarding PHEVs was that they were complex with all the downsides of both ICE and BEV from a maintenance and reliability standpoint, with little to no mention of the upsides.

From the anti-EV crowd, ’nuff said.

From the manufacturers, there was by and large a collective ignoring of PHEVs in lieu of going straight from ICE to BEV.

I can only imagine that the electrification of the car industry (in America, at least) would be in a markedly different place if a well-reasoned discourse around PHEVs had happened a decade ago.

Speaking for myself, I think PHEVs are the way to go as the best bridge between ICE and BEV and that they’ll always have a place in the market for folks who can’t feasibly do a BEV.

Elons Backdoor Musk
Elons Backdoor Musk
20 days ago
Reply to  Habu

This is the type of rational and well thought out opinion that has no place on the internet.

Please pick one side and call anyone who disagrees a moron.

D-Dog
D-Dog
23 days ago

There’s nothing like firsthand experience. I’ve been aware that PHEVs and EVs exist for years, and was like “meh, maybe someday I’ll consider one.” Then, just recently, I got the opportunity to drive a range extended BMW i3. It was awesome! I didn’t know I could enjoy a vehicle that much. So… yeah. Now I’m thinking my next purchase is going to be somewhere on the EV spectrum. It’s as the popular idiom goes: It’s hard to hate up close.

Are you not entertained?
Are you not entertained?
23 days ago

I admit as a Gladiator owner, I didn’t know they were going to make a PEV next year. I kept hearing “maybe”s all the time. Jeep teased the truck for so long and never delivered, so I didn’t put a lot of stock in electrification happening in the Gladiator. Unfortunately, it is too late for me. I still have a car payment in 2025, and it’s my wife’s turn next for a new car (one car payment at a time!), I’m excited to know it will be a reality, though.

I do think it is cool when someone finds out something new and is excited about it. As a teacher, I love to see a student’s face light up when they learn about something that is new to them and think it is so cool. If he wasn’t looking to buy a new car, he may not be aware of new options.

Scott McAfee
Scott McAfee
23 days ago

This is what the most enlightened people have been saying all along. The problem is that the EV mafia was so adamant about electric only, they were as bull-headed and small minded as the EV haters. Hybrids are such an elegant solution, they offer the best performing car and massively reduce carbon emissions in a platform that serves the greatest segment of the people the best. Are there cases for all electric or all ICE? Of course, but they special purpose for the most part and a small percentage of the pie.

MikuhlBrian
MikuhlBrian
24 days ago

I got a 4xe Wrangler as a loaner when my 300C was in the dealer for a couple of warranty fixes. I’m not a big Wrangler fan, but I did enjoy the PHEV drivetrain. Even just plugging it in my garage 120V outlet, I was able to fully charge overnight and I spent almost 80% of the week I had it in pure EV mode. My commute to work was just outside of the pure electric range (work is 22 miles away), and I wasn’t setup to charge at work (which has 250+ chargers).

My husband likes the Gladiator, we may consider getting one if the 4xe does in fact come out in the Gladiator. I’m also on the waiting list for the RAM REV Recharge (PHEV) and the Charger Daytona.

I think that PHEVs are really going to be the right transition vehicle for most people. It will really help transition those who have range anxiety.

Turbotictac
Turbotictac
24 days ago

I really wish the PHEV Ranger was coming to the US, it fits perfectly in with what I want in a truck but without the massive price increase for a F-150. Oh well

H4llelujah
H4llelujah
24 days ago

I love it. I live in Redneckland, where everyone thinks Hybrids are plastic 80 horsepower bathtubs that the Government is forcing people to buy.

I’m on my 2nd 4xe Wrangler, and they are my all-time favorite new car. I can take it up trails and bury it to the bumper in mud, haul the family to the lake with the top down, drag trees out of the woods, tow a small tractor, and I’m averaging about 51 miles for every gallon of gas I burn.

The best is when I’m at work and overhear some old dude talking about how junky electric cars are. I get them to come for a ride, and show them what 470lb ft and 375 horsepower feels like with no top and doors. They are usually pretty suprised.

I’ve sold more than a couple by doing a quick demonstration.

Turbotictac
Turbotictac
24 days ago
Reply to  H4llelujah

Doing the Lord’s work

Roofless
Roofless
24 days ago
Reply to  H4llelujah

Man, that’s the kicker on the whole hybrid/electric car culture war – like, gas is fun, for sure, but that electric torque, the cheap running costs, all the other perks are real. There’s been a bunch of talk around electrification of short haul trucking – I’ve read a few reviews from truckers and it turns out a truck that can accelerate to freeway speeds in a reasonable time without shaking itself apart is good, actually. I’ve got a two-door that’s fun as hell to toss around, but the cheapest Tesla out there will blow my doors off.

People spend way too much time pigeonholing themselves and not enough time having fun with things.

H4llelujah
H4llelujah
24 days ago
Reply to  Roofless

Oh absolutely. The performance is just insane from some of these things. Jeeps are perfect for this stuff, because Jeeps have never been about the motor. There’s nothing soul stirring about any drivetrain that’s ever been offered in a Jeep, save for maybe the few instances where a V8 was dropped between the framerails.

Nah, Jeeps are about the the upright seating, feeling like you can drive up a mountain, the I-can-see-everthing visibility, feeling the wind not only in your hair, but on your sides, on your legs, up your ass, etc. So if anything, If they somehow made a full battery electric wrangler, it would honestly do nothing but make the experience better.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
24 days ago

Honestly? Wholesome. Dude sounds legitimately excited.

LTDScott
LTDScott
24 days ago

You lost me with the unnecessary apostrophe in the group name. That alone tells me enough about the group and its members.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
24 days ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Facebook gonna Facebook.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
24 days ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

Yeah, Facebook is just one of those places where the grocer’s apostrophe roams widely and freely with gleeful abandon.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
24 days ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Whats wrong with his’ us’e of Facebook Group’s aprostrophes’s?

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
23 days ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Member’s*

Gubbin
Gubbin
24 days ago

TIL the 4xe model is hybrid to all 4 wheels through the transfer case. For some reason, I had thought it was a gas RWD transaxle with an independent electric transaxle in the front.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
24 days ago

This guy didn’t know about hybrids? What closet has this guy been living in for the past 20+ years?

Phuzz
Phuzz
23 days ago

A closet full of Jeep parts.

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