A 625-hp stick-shifting e-Wrangler with 2-second 0-60 mph might be flashy at its debut, but an electric 4×4 that could really achieve beautiful things would be smaller, lighter and more modestly powered … just like the all-new CJ Surge. Developed for the 2022 SEMA Show, the new concept is a classic pre-Wrangler Jeep with a 200-kW electric drive powering all four wheels through a two-speed transfer case. The restomod build has potential to be more than just a one-and-done, allowing Mopar to explore the possibility of an aftermarket electric kit for classic and contemporary 4x4s and cars.
Mopar empties out the engine compartment and swaps in a 268-hp 400-V electric drive module that powers the four wheels through a two-speed transfer case with selectable gearing. It doesn’t venture a guess as to potential range, but it says the 24-module lithium-ion battery is enclosed in a custom shell mounted behind the passenger compartment.
To further ruggedize the CJ Surge into a ready-for-anything modern-day off-roader, Mopar installs a 2-in lift kit as well as 35-in BFGoodrich all-terrain tires on 18-in Black Rhino Solid wheels. Jeep Performance Parts (JPP) Dana 44 Crate axles at the front and rear beef the Surge up for legit crawl-speed bouldering, while JPP Rubicon skid plates and rock rails protect the vitals. The JPP Wrangler JK Rubicon front bumper keeps a Rubicon Warn winch at the ready, flanked by tow hooks and amber LED fog lamps.
The orange “Copper Canyon” paint job is thoroughly accented by a glossy blackout concept hood, gloss black grille, and “Surf Blue” graphics and highlights that bond the new build with its Wrangler Magneto and Magneto 2.0 predecessors. A custom roll cage, light fabric top and concept fender flares round out the exterior add-ons.
Inside, the driver and passenger sit on custom seats atop concept risers, staring out a cropped windshield. An updated control set includes a Wrangler JK center console with rotary shift knob and a Mopar gauge set with battery level indicator. The charging port is accessible right behind the driver’s door, ready to plug in at Jeep’s trailside charging network.
Mopar is using the CJ Surge to launch an exploration of aftermarket EV parts and kits. It introduces the Surge by saying it’s “custom designed and engineered to explore an efficient battery-electric propulsion system for classic Jeep models.”
“The Jeep CJ Surge electromod concept allows Mopar designers and engineers to gain a better understanding of potential battery-electric vehicle (BEV) parts kit applications, leading to a future propulsion-system offering for enthusiasts to build or convert classic and current cars and trucks into zero-emission vehicles,” it continues.
Jeep is already planning a capable brand-new electric 4×4 model, but a 4×4 EV conversion package could be quite intriguing to the incomparably loyal Jeep enthusiast base. They could give life to their aged Jeeps, bringing the instant torque and zero-emissions driving benefits of electric power to their favorite classics. Mopar says the Surge’s electric drive is scalable, so it could be readily adapted to models beyond the CJ.
Mopar will show the CJ Surge at this week’s SEMA Show, which runs from Tuesday through Friday in Las Vegas. It will have a handful of other concepts on show, including the mission-ready Ram 1500 Backcountry X concept.
To make the 1500 pickup an absolute cargo hauling master, Mopar grows its RamBox bedside toolboxes into full-height concept RamPacks contained within a tubular rail system with Thule crossbars. The near-cab-height RamPacks offer additional space for storing the likes of automotive and work tools, camping equipment or sports gear while leaving the entirety of the 1500 bed box empty and ready to load. A RamGate workbench tailgate insert serves as another handy addition in a concept truck ready to organize and upgrade any work or play trip.
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