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The Jeep Grand Cherokee goes all electric

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January 5, 2012

AMP will unveil an all-electric version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee in Detroit next week (P...

AMP will unveil an all-electric version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee in Detroit next week (Photo: AMP)

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The AMP Jeep Grand Cherokee, to be unveiled next week at the North American International Auto Show, is a 100 percent electric-drive vehicle with all the cargo space and utility of a true SUV. AMP trades out Jeep's V6/V8 powertrain for a combination of two Remi electric motors and a 37.6 kWh lithium iron phosphate battery. Because the motors are direct drive, the electrified Grand Cherokee does not require a transmission. The motors combine for 152 kW (203 hp), and the model will travel about 80 to 100 miles (129 to 161 km) per charge.

In the base model, AMP mounts both motors to the rear axle, so the Grand Cherokee won't offer all the off-road handling benefits of a four-wheel-drive Jeep. However, it maintains other advantages of a Grand Cherokee, including passenger and cargo room. Despite the addition of the large battery pack, you still get room for five people and adjustable cargo space with split-folding rear seats. AMP will also launch an AWD model offering improved off-road handling and performance.

Beyond the powertrain, the AMP model keeps the Grand Cherokee's standard equipment and components. From the outside, the only thing distinguishing the AMP from gas Grand Cherokees is the "100 % Electric" badging on the former.

AMP will unveil an all-electric version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee in Detroit next week

An AMP representative told the New York Times that the Grand Cherokee's pricing will be competitive with the Tesla Model S. That's somewhat ambiguous, as you can practically pick any price between US$50,000 and $90,000 and find a Tesla Model S variant to match. A representative did clarify to Gizmag that base price will be in line with the base Model S, which costs $57,400 before any tax incentives. That puts the model about double the base price of a gas Grand Cherokee.

AMP plans to unveil the electric Jeep Grand Cherokee at the North American International Auto Show next week, where it will have both RWD and AWD models on show. It will offer additional details then, including pricing and availability. The event takes place in Detroit and opens to its doors on January 9.

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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16 Comments

"From the outside, the only thing distinguishing the AMP from gas Grand Cherokees is the "100 % Electric" badging on the former."

So we won't be able to tell the difference between a gas powered and electric powered Cherokee when we pass one at the side of the road in the middle of the desert?

80-100 miles range? That's practically a death sentence where I live.

DemonDuck
5th January, 2012 @ 09:26 am PST

Because jeep are well known for their reliable electrics.

Denis Klanac
5th January, 2012 @ 11:38 am PST

Great, putting a drivetrain which uses a very inefficient and horrible method of storing energy into an overweight, innefficient design and horrible aerodynamics derived from its fuel guzzling predecessor.

Wow these designers and engineers are really smart.

Also 100 mile a charge doesn't mean a thing. It could have been moving at 15mph on a level road to get that kind of range.

SpaceBagels
5th January, 2012 @ 05:02 pm PST

152kW from 37.4kWh equals under 15minutes of runtime at full power - don't drive up any hills...

christopher
5th January, 2012 @ 05:59 pm PST

I wish I had the money to be impractical.

Mark A
5th January, 2012 @ 06:15 pm PST

It seems like I hear about a new electric vehicle being produced every week, exciting times.

It's only a matter of time before the internal combustion engine falls. It's still top dog today, but who knows a few years from now.

2012 is going to be a BIG year for electric vehicles.

Derek Howe
5th January, 2012 @ 09:57 pm PST

Sure electric motors are efficient, but that doesn't ultimately make the purpose built vehicle efficient.

Batteries are very inefficient way of storing energy, and charging them takes a long time. Unless there is a quantum leap in battery technology or international standard for battery interface so battery swapping infrastructures can be built, I don't see them catching up even until for a few more years.

Also the tree and polar bear huggers should also note that electrical motor and battery technologies are far from being 'green'.

You still need petroleum to manufacture them, transport them and maintain them. The manufacturing methods are as destructive and poluting to the planet Earth as ICE tech, and the raw materials STILL need to be mined and none of them are currently renewable.

EVs are not the ultimate answer to sustainable living on this rock, far from it.

SpaceBagels
6th January, 2012 @ 02:20 am PST

SpaceBagels : no copper recycling ? the batteries are losing zero weight during their whole lifetime - they are completely recycleable .

you can refill a battery driven car with wind power , nuclear , geothermal , diesel etc - depends on the local power grid .

I wonder how log would it take to make a good electric car without the will to make one not perfect . the chinese have fifteen years of experience in the field . europe has a few fancy concepts and that's all . who will make the electric cars of the future ?

Károly Hőss
6th January, 2012 @ 07:25 am PST

Another clunker that won't sell. Poor (lazy) design and a 80 mile range. That is a death sentence in the CA desert. 50 to 100k price tag? For this piece of junk? It's not a jeep if you can't go off road. Maybe Gizmag should qualify the gizmo before allowing this kind of crap to hit my email.

Maybe Gizmag should slam and make a joke of this kind of stupidity...at least they could provide a laugh.

Kjamesgraham
6th January, 2012 @ 08:32 am PST

People, people, people. They, Jeep, doesn't expect to sell any of these (if any so sell, they'll be as surprised as anyone). All these new electrics are being trotted out for one reason and one reason only: So the auto industry can easily and cheaply meet the new CAFE standards being imposed upon them. An electric lowers the overall fleet average MPG considerably, more than any other thing that could be done for the money. Fact is, without the electrics, it would be impossible for them to meet those standards...or at least without spending themselves into bankruptcy while producing cars no one would ever buy.

Neil Larkins
6th January, 2012 @ 09:43 am PST

@christopher, when was the last time you slammed your gas pedal to the floor for 15 minutes straight? Full power is mainly needed when accelerating. Cruising at a constant speed requires very little power depending on the weight of the vehicle and the terrain. This is why many new cars have active cylinder shutdown for highway driving.

Here's a tidbit for you "desert drivers":

US Population in rural areas: 59,274,456

US Population in urban areas: 225,956,060

Source: US DOT: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/census_issues/metropolitan_planning/cps2k.cfm

I don't think rural dwellers is the target market for this vehicle. You're better off buying an ICE until the technology gets better. 80 miles of range in the city per day is more than enough for the average city dweller.

Cost per mile of this vehicle after being plugged in at night will be significantly lower than than the base Jeep GC V6. I'll take 6 cents per pollution-free mile over 19 cents per mile (18 MPG city at $3.37 gallon of fuel, not including the maintenance costs of an ICE) with instant torque any day. My concern is and always will be the up front cost of the vehicle due to the high cost of the batteries. The annual savings would be roughly $3000 in fuel at 25,000 miles per year. This vehicle would need 10 years to break even and even longer when driven fewer miles.

@Neil This is not Jeep's concept; it's a 3rd party EV conversion company called AMP so I don't think your CAFE theory applies. This concept obviously sparks interest (read: demand) otherwise none of us would have read the article.

Knowledge Thirsty
6th January, 2012 @ 11:53 am PST

Will Jeep offer this conversion through their dealers? Even if not, it's not a theory that this is the #1 reason all the makers are suddenly coming out with EVs. To be viewed as PC and environmentally friendly is #2 in order to get some of the green action. They still lobby to get those standards relaxed. As to the sales end, I know a few people who own Jeep Grand Cherokees. I don't have to ask them to know they drive their Jeeps a LOT and to remote areas on frequent outings. Local shopping trips is their secondary use of the vehicle. Wouldn't find any of them buying this Jeep whether it's a conversion or not. As to AMP offering the Jeep for sale, I didn't read anything in the article that suggests the Jeep is only a demo platform for their conversion service. That may be because they're exclusively contracted with Jeep for this particular design, but it appears that Jeep is still the primary and AMP would be doing all Jeep's conversions. So in my "theory" whether the EV aspect is done by Jeep in house or farmed out, it's still Jeep.

Neil Larkins
6th January, 2012 @ 01:22 pm PST

@Neil,

In the end, I think it's pointless to care about the why these EVs are coming to market because it is a means to an end as the next evolution of the automobile but that's just me. If it's CAFE, why are auto manufacturers outside the US also making EV's for non-US markets? I think the major automakers see that demand has been building and, with time, the technology will catch up to the point where eventually, the EV will outperform the ICV in efficiency, performance, range, and "refueling".

Your point about your Jeep friends is acknowledged. Your Jeep friends are not the target market. They are free to purchase the IC Jeep at a relative bargain now. I know just as many Jeep GC owners whose tires haven't gone over the GW bridge. This version of the vehicle is meant as a daily driver/commuter vehicle that doesn't feel like a sardine can on wheels and with available AWD makes for a good one at that for cites located in the snow belt.

The article does not point to AMP building these exclusively or not but it does include a link to AMP's website which has a "fleet" of conversions that they do which includes the ML (http://ampelectricvehicles.com/our-vehicles/amp-jeep) so I don't think exclusivity is in their plan at the moment.

Bottom line: just because it doesn't work for you doesn't make it a bad idea.

Knowledge Thirsty
6th January, 2012 @ 03:58 pm PST

@Károly HÃ…"˜ss

You're not getting what I said. Renewable materials are not the same as recyclable materials.

Sure you can recycle some materials but that doesn't make them self replenishing. The Earth's population is increasing rapidly and with it the demand for raw materials. We will run out of these material eventually since nothing is stopping man in his excessive desire to acquire or possess more and more.

SpaceBagels
6th January, 2012 @ 04:34 pm PST

I am not going to pay 50K+ for this piece of crap. Bottom line. And the car companies know that. Until we start seeing EV from foreign countries that get great mileage and don't cost an arm and leg, the US company will keep putting out this POS.

S Michael
6th January, 2012 @ 04:36 pm PST

Chaps, I have given up. Aptera folds, the true range of the Leaf turns out to be closer to 70 miles and now this. Companies like Apple are sitting on piles of cash but nobody seems interested in an affordable EV.

Every week there's a new 'prototype' car, a new miracle battery, some fabulous way to make solar panels out of moss or sticky-backed-plastic, but nothing comes to market.

Go back a few years in the Gizmag articles and look at all of the futuristic stuff that has never seen the light of day. It's truly depressing, it really is.

Neil
6th January, 2012 @ 07:16 pm PST
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