EV Concepts From Easter Jeep Safari: Here’s What We Love
The writing is on the canyon walls: Jeep is embracing electric power. In case that wasn’t already clear, the brand used the annual Easter Jeep Safari to roll out four incredible new EVs and plug-in hybrid concepts to show it’s serious about electrification.
The Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, now in its 57th year, is an annual pilgrimage for Jeep fans. In 2023, as ever, Jeep rolled out seven new concept vehicles, but this year four of them were electric. Clearly the American brand is looking to show diehard, old-school 4×4 fans that EVs could be a “Jeep thing” too. All you need is a little imagination.
We’re not above picking favourites (see this year’s Best in Show pick below), but we’ve rounded up every concept from 57th annual Easter Jeep Safari so that you can pick your own winner.
1978 Jeep Cherokee 4xe Concept
Okay, we’re saving the best for first: this is the Jeep concept we’d put in the SHARP garage today if we could. It’s not quite a resto-mod, because underneath that vintage body lurks a Jeep Wrangler 4xe powertrain, with two electric motors, a battery pack and a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. The body is from a 1978 Jeep Cherokee, which was essentially a sportier, two-door version of the Wagoneer from back when Led Zeppelin was the biggest band in America. The vintage body has been stretched and bent to fit on this modern chassis, and it looks perfect. The plug-in hybrid powertrain gives it a little dose of eco-friendliness, and the gas engine means you don’t have to worry about trying to find a charger in the wilderness. If we were Jeep execs right now, we’d be thinking about how to put something like this in showrooms as soon as possible.
Jeep Grand Wagoneer Overland Concept
This is one of the three non-electric concepts from this year’s Safari, but we don’t hold that against it. Under the hood is the brand’s new twin-turbo Hurricane straight-six engine, churning out a very impressive 500 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. (Who needs a gas-guzzling V8?) Fewer stops for fuel means more time spent off-the-grid in this luxurious overlanding beast. The RedTail Overland Skyloft on the roof is about as nice as roof-tents get. Jeep even customized the Wagoneer so the rear sunroof could be used as a pass-through to the Skyloft. The rear seats have been ditched to create a Van Life paradise, with sleeping space for two.
Jeep Wrangler Magneto 3.0 Concept
For many years, Jeep has been refining this all-electric Wrangler concept. This year’s version is the wildest yet, looking very much like an off-road hot rod. It’s based on a 2020 Wrangler Rubicon, but features a new electric drivetrain that allows its driver to select between two power settings: 285 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, or 650 horsepower and 900 lb-ft of torque. (900!) A new, more efficient electric motor is said to give the latest Magneto more range, but unfortunately Jeep doesn’t say exactly how far this thing could go on a charge.
Jeep Scrambler 392 Concept
This one’s similar to the Magneto above, but it’s all-gas. Rather than eco-friendly electricity, this Scrambler shoehorns a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine under the hood, producing 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. The concept actually started life as a four-door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, but it pays homage to the original 1981 Jeep Scrambler (CJ-8) compact pickup. That truck never had a V8 engine, but Jeep is rewriting history here. The suspension is worth mentioning; it’s the new AccuAir air suspension kit, developed by Jeep for the Wrangler and Gladiator. It allows a truly massive range of height adjustment, from a modest 1.5-inch lift to an off-road ready 5.5 inches, adjustable via the dashboard or Bluetooth connection.
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe Concept
The thing about this concept is that it’s purple. Technically, “chromatic magenta.” That’s it. That’s the whole concept. Maybe they just ran out of time on this one?
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe Departure Concept
The 4xe label denotes this as one of Jeep’s growing lineup of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). As Jeep boasts, the Wrangler 4xe is the best-selling PHEV in America. This is the kind of build your cousin who lives in the California desert might make. It’s got a lift kit (naturally) plus vintage-looking KMC wheels, gnarly 37-inch BF Goodrich tires, Bilstein remote reservoir shocks, custom flat fender flares and more lights than anyone could reasonably need.
Jeep Gladiator Rubicon Sideburn Concept
The Gladiator is a giant — more than capable of being your go-anywhere, do-anything truck. Jeep leaned into that for the Sideburn Concept, adding a smattering of aftermarket and custom-designed accessories to create a serious tool for off-road adventures. The most interesting is the concept JPP Gladiator Sport Bar. It’s made from carbon fiber and steel, and features steps on both sides for easy access into the bed. It also features a mid-shelf with tie downs for portable storage totes. Four T-track rails on top of the Sport Bar let you throw a couple kayaks or mountain bikes up there. Looking at this thing, we’re really feeling the pull of summer. Time to get outside!