Every year since 2008, Jeep have presented concept vehicles at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. The concepts change each year, exploring different themes and design ideas, but in 2023, the Magneto concept made its third appearance in as many years. However, the ‘3.0’ version of this fully-electric 4x4 was a far cry from what was presented two years ago.
Jeep’s design team say that, when they began building the original Magneto concept for 2021, the intention was to use the platform to test and push the boundaries of electrification. When it was presented at the 2021 Easter Jeep Safari, the Magneto was a game changer, not only for being the first fully-electric Jeep concept, but also for combining that EV powerplant with a conventional six-speed manual transmission.
Of course, Jeep’s designers and engineers ensured the zero-emission concept had full 4x4 capability, adding that the original Magneto was a “rock climbing force” and provided new levels of efficiency, environmental responsibility and extreme performance on- and off-road.
Based on an MY20 Wrangler Rubicon two-door, the first Magneto concept featured a compact, custom-built axial flux electric motor that operated at up to 6,000rpm. In this initial form, the e-motor delivered up to 212kW and 370Nm of torque (285hp and 273lbft).
In 2022, Jeep brought the ‘Magneto 2.0’ concept to the Safari, pushing the performance envelope further. Peak amperage was more than doubled to 600 amps, which enabled torque to more than triple - up to 1,152Nm (850lb/ft) – and power more than double to 466kW (625hp) for serious rock-climbing challenges.
For Magneto 3.0, Jeep engineers have incorporated a new, more efficient electric motor that not only increases range by a claimed 20 per cent, but also offers even more performance. Maximums now sit at 484kW (650hp) and 1,220Nm (900lb/ft). However, understanding that full power isn’t required all of the time, the Magneto 3.0 concept incorporates a selectable power setting function that enables maximums to be switched between the aforementioned peaks and a milder 212kW and 370Nm (285hp and 273lb/ft), which co-incidentally is the maximum achieved by the original Magneto concept.
No mention is made of the battery packs, so presumably the four lithium-ion units from Magneto 2.0 carry over, stowed at various points in the vehicle to optimise weight distribution.
Other new functions added for Magneto 3.0 include a two-stage power regeneration mode that, according to Jeep, uses the electric motor to enhance brake regeneration when active, with normal driving when deactivated. An “aggressive” hill descent mode has also been added and can be selected when in low range to offer genuine one-pedal driving in serious rock-crawling scenarios.
Enhancing the Magneto 3.0’s off-road prowess is a custom 7.6cm (3.0-inch) suspension lift, Dynatrac 60 front and Dynatrac 80 rear axles (each with 5.38:1 ratios), 20-inch off-road beadlock wheels and 40-inch Maxxis Razr M/T tyres. Most of these features are unchanged from Magneto 2.0, but the wheels are a new design.
On the Wrangler body that’s already had a 305mm (12-inch) stretch in the wheelbase to incorporate the electric powertrain and batteries, some changes have been made to Magneto 3.0 to improve ease of use. These include a 15cm (6-inch) wider door opening and moving the B-pillar back 6cm (2.3 inches), with a new design of custom roll bar also fitted.
The front wheelarch flares add LEDs at the leading edge and remove the cut-outs on the trailing edge, where they’re also longer by 5cm (2 inches). The windscreen has been raked back 12 degrees, complemented by a similar treatment of the removable fabric bikini top to create a sleeker, hot rod look without actually bobbing the windscreen. Magneto 3.0 also incorporates different mirrors and the shorter grille of the current Wrangler range.
In terms of finish, Magneto 3.0 runs with the familiar Surf Blue and Bright White colour scheme from the previous two versions of this concept, but adds more vibrant patterning, a blue surround for the grille, new-look graphics and red highlights. Features like the tinted blue window in the bonnet remain, as do the blue tow hooks.
Inside, the seats gain additional blue panels in the bolsters and add red contrast stitching, picking up on the exterior accents. The Wrangler rear seats have been removed and the floor has a Rhino lining in Surf Blue to match the exterior while offering durability and hose-out practicality.
For an overview of the 2023 Easter Jeep Safari concepts, click HERE.