Jeep’s new Recon EV proves fun has a place in the electric future

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Stellantis

What has a seven-slat grille, off-road running gear, and removable doors? The answer used to be singular: Jeep’s inimitable Wrangler. As of this morning, a new vehicle now fits those criteria. Meet the Jeep Recon, one of four battery-electric vehicles that will spearhead the brand’s electric revolution in North America.

Revealed as part of Jeep’s 4xe day (which we covered at a high level here), the Recon will add another nameplate to the distinctly off-road-oriented paddock. Riding on Stellantis’ STLA Large platform (just like the Wagoneer S, the other North America-bound EV that broke cover today), the Recon boasts plenty of promising traits that should make it a hoot when the blacktops ends.

Jeep Recon EV exterior front three quarter beach
Stellantis

The stubby overhangs front and rear will ensure respectable approach and departure angles, and a tucked lower body should be a boon to breakover angles and water-fording capability. A host of underbody armor protects vital driveline bits such as the hefty battery pack. Chunky rubber wrapping classic-looking five-spoke wheels looks ready to claw through mud and over slippery rock, and a full-size spare is mounted outback of the tailgate. Tow hooks at either end are a welcome sight for when you find yourself in a pickle.

If you’re getting Wrangler vibes from the upright windshield and blocky proportions, that’s intentional. Stellantis design chief and all-around excellent car guy Ralph Gilles was quick to point out that many aspects of the Recon are inspired by the Wrangler. The coolest shared trait? The Recon’s doors can be removed for open-air, all-electric cruising—just like those on the Wrangler. All four doors look fairly simple to remove—we’d expect a Torx-bolt system similar to that of the Wrangler—probably only requiring a few hand tools and a place in the garage to stow them. The other thing that caught our eye: It looks like the rear window between the C- and D-pillars can also be removed; we’re very curious about how that works (and how squeaky such a fitment system will be as the Recon thumps through the trails).

Jeep Recon EV exterior side profile on the rocks
Stellantis

Speaking of trails, Jeep is confident that this EV can hang when the going gets rough. It was quick to point out that the Recon has already earned the Trail Rated badge, successfully trekking the Rubicon Trail in northwest California. The Recon will feature Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction management system, as well as e-locker axle technology. The latter would seem to imply a solid axle at least in the rear, but consider this: The STLA Large platform is one of four platforms that will underpin a whole host of Stellantis EVs (the conglomerate is targeting 75 new BEVs globally by 2030). Another platform, called STLA Frame, will underpin large trucks and light commercial EVs.

If stick axles imply a frame—and they almost always do—it would make more sense that the Recon would offer four-corner independent suspension given the platform on which it’s based. That implies some height-adjustability tech, perhaps like you’d see in a Land Rover Defender 110, whose silhouette also looks a lot like the Recon’s. If the Recon offers an electric motor at each corner, or even one at each end, that e-locking axle tech might just be a few clutch packs that open and close to replicate a locked axle.

Jeep Recon EV exterior top-down on beach
Stellantis

Jeep played coy when we asked about performance details like range, battery size, power figures, and more, saying that those stats will arrive closer to launch. The car is set to be revealed in the flesh sometime in 2023, and production will start in North America in 2024. Reservations will open sometime in 2023.

Worried about the Recon somehow supplanting the Wrangler in the future? Fret not: Jeep’s Global CEO Christian Meunier, Jeep’s North American brand head Jim Morrison, and Gilles were all emphatic about the Wrangler’s importance to the overall brand, and insistent that it wasn’t going anywhere. The Recon is simply another angle from which Jeep will approach off-road enjoyment in the face of an electric revolution. Not a bad way to go about it, from where we sit.

Jeep Recon EV exterior rear three quarter beach
Stellantis

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