Concept Vehicle for Annual Safari
Every year, Jeep fans from around America, and indeed from around the world, gather in Moab, Utah for the annual Jeep Easter Safari, the legendary brand’s home away from home. Now in its 57th year, the event attracts more than 20,000 Jeep enthusiasts who spend the week off-roading in the most extreme conditions. And every year, Jeep brings a number of concept vehicles to showcase what its engineering and design teams are thinking about as they push the brand into the future. In 2023, electric performance is front and center, the brand’s teams having created a number of off-road concepts that leverage electricity to make off-roading safer as well as more exciting.
Extreme Off-Roader with Zero Emissions
The highlight of this year’s Jeep Safari was the next-generation Jeep Magneto 3.0 concept. The third iteration of an electric off-roading beast, it is once again designed to test, discover, and push the boundaries of electrification in an off-road context. Building on the basis of the original Magneto, which was first introduced in 2021 as a fully-capable off-road EV, Jeep’s engineers and designers have created a zero-emissions Jeep with extreme off-road capability, while making it more efficient and sustainable.
Based on a two-door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, the original Jeep Magneto featured a custom-built axial-flux electric motor that operates up to 6,000 rpm. Unlike most EVs, the motor actually connects to a six-speed manual transmission to give the driver ultimate control. The compact electric motor was initially tuned to deliver up to 273 lb.-ft of torque and 285 hp.
The second version, Magneto 2.0, pushed the performance envelope even further in 2022. Peak amperage in the drivetrain was more than doubled to 600 amps, which enabled the open-topped Jeep to instantly deliver up to 850 lb.-ft of peak torque to the wheels – more than triple the torque of the previous version – and 625 hp for serious rock-climbing challenges.
Up to 650 hp with Extended Range
Now, for 2023, Magneto 3.0 brings even more extreme updates. A new, more efficient electric motor further boosts power and torque output. Indeed, the driver can select from between two power settings – a standard setting with 285 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, and a maximum mode with 650 hp and 900 lb-ft. A two-stage power regeneration mode allows for normal driving when turned off, or enhanced brake regeneration using the electric motor when switched on. This can help extend the range.
When used with hill descent mode in low range, the regeneration mode offers true one-pedal off-road driving in rock-crawling situations. To support such off-road adventures, the Magneto 3.0 features Dynatrac 60 front axles with a 5.38:1 ratio, Dynatrac 80 rear axles, 20-inch off-road wheels with bead locking, and giant 40-inch mud terrain tires. The suspension has also been lifted by a full three inches for improved ground clearance.
The new electric motor, in addition to being more powerful than ever before, is also more efficient thanks to updated programming for the power control electronics. Jeep claims a 20 percent increase in usable energy and range, though it’s not specific about how far the Magneto 3.0 can drive on a single charge.
Showcases Styling Innovations
There’s more than just improvements to the way Magneto drives. The Magneto 3.0 also alters the vehicle’s proportions. For ease of access, the door openings have been modified and swept back an additional six inches, making it easier to get in and out. The B-pillar was moved back two inches from where it is on the stock vehicle, to make way for a custom anti-roll bar. The front fender was stretched back on its trailing edge by two inches, making for larger openings for the giant tires. The windshield was also raked back an additional 12 degrees to give the side view a “chopped” feel without shortening the front glass.
Jeep Magneto 3.0 still features Bright White and Surf Blue paint, but with an updated design with more vibrant exterior details, including the addition of red accents. Its interior has been trimmed in blue leather and accented with red stitching to match the exterior. The rear seats have been removed, and the floor has been rhino-lined in Surf Blue for added functionality and durability.
While the Magneto 3.0 remains a concept vehicle for now, we suspect it won’t be long before we see something like this full-electric off-roader on our roads. The Wrangler 4xe, which features a plug-in hybrid drivetrain and exceptional off-road credentials, is actually the best-selling plug-in hybrid in the U.S., so there’s a business case as well as an environmental case for a fully-electric Jeep.