Is it possible to purchase an electric vehicle with a manual transmission? Right now, no. But in the future, you just might be able to row your own gears in an all-electric Jeep Wrangler. Ahead of the 2021 Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, the automaker has unveiled several concept models that it’ll test at the annual off-road event, including the Wrangler Magneto: a Wrangler with an electric motor mated to a six-speed manual transmission.
According to Jeep, the Wrangler Magneto is based on the two-door Wrangler Rubicon, but in place of the Rubicon’s Pentastar V6, the company’s engineers swapped in a custom-built axial flux electric motor. The motor spins up to 6,000 rpm, and it’s tuned to mimic the specs of the gas-powered V6: up to 273 lb-ft of torque and 285 horsepower. That means the Magneto’s unique electric powerplant can work with the six-speed manual transmission offered on the Rubicon—and that’s exactly how Jeep set up this truck.
Driving it will be a little different than what you’re used to with a normal stick shift, however. According to The Drive, you can shift the Magneto into first without using the clutch because its motor doesn’t idle, and because the motor offers instantaneous torque, there’s no danger of stalling. Better yet, the motor automatically drops into regeneration mode when the clutch is engaged. That helps prevent rev hang (which can make it tricky to shift gears, at least with a traditional manual transmission) and prolong battery life, too.
Four 800-volt battery packs power the Wrangler Magneto, and Jeep’s designers cleverly stuffed them throughout the vehicle, including where the fuel tank is located on gas-powered Wranglers. Together, they create about 70 kWh of power and help give the truck some impressive speed: It can go from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, according to Jeep.
Of course, it’s off-road performance that really matters on a Jeep, and the Magneto doesn’t fall short there, either. The batteries are covered with skid plates to prevent damage from rocks and scrapes, and they’re housed in waterproof containers to allow the truck to maintain 30 inches of water fording capability (just like its gas-powered siblings).
Unfortunately, the Wrangler Magneto is just a concept vehicle, so there’s no guarantee it’ll actually go into production. But with specs that impressive, maybe Jeep will give it a try.
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