If you're a Jeep lover or an off-road enthusiast, you don't need to be told how great it is to live in Utah. You're never too far from your next adventure here, whether that's a technical crawl over desert slickrock or a romp through the hills. And Utah, in turn, is only too happy to unfold before you with each turn of the steering wheel. But there are a few areas out of reach to even the most hardcore off-roaders, no matter how good their setups — or their wetsuits. That might all be changing soon, though, according to Jeep.
In the years ahead you could be able to explore the off-road trails surrounding Bear Lake and see what's at the bottom while you're at it. You read that right. The news of a potential water-bound Jeep comes as of last week when Jeep released a video to celebrate its 80-year history and tease the technology of the future. Amidst other exciting reveals, the video ends with the biggest teaser of all — a Jeep Wrangler operating while fully submerged underwater.
An off-road and off-land vehicle? Now that's an exciting prospect. And although Jeep's CEO Christian Meunier acknowledged that an underwater Jeep is probably more than 10 years out, he maintained there was enough interest from both customers and Jeep engineers to make the dream of an aquatic automobile a reality in the not-so-far future.
How would it work?
The sight of a car driving underwater seems more like it would be taken from the latest James Bond film than an actual Jeep commercial, but the technology isn't too far off. And you don't need help from Her Majesty's Secret Service, either. So how would it work?
First off, the Jeep in question will have to be an electric vehicle. Since EVs don't require air intakes or exhausts, they can theoretically operate underwater so long as the equipment and passenger compartments are sealed tight. Jeep is already well on its way to making a shift to a more electric lineup — by 2025, the manufacturer hopes to have a fully electric model in each vehicle class. More good news: the current Wrangler Rubicon 4Xe plug-in hybrid may offer a glimpse of this future, thanks to its waterproof battery pack and fording depth of 30 inches.
So the pieces are in place, and if Jeep's ad is any indication, the motivation is there too. But how long will we have to wait to take our crawlers beneath the depths? That remains to be seen. In the meantime, Jeep was gracious enough to tease us with a host of other cool features that are a little bit more within reach.
What else is new?
The biggest news at Jeep right now is the 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe. Buy one of these today and you'll be the proud owner of Green Car Journal's 2021 Green SUV of the Year. In its Electric Mode it offers up to 21 miles of completely electric driving, producing practically no emissions while delivering highway-ready speed. And to ensure that you won't be stranded in the backcountry without a charge, Jeep is teaming up with Electrify America to install charging stations near iconic trailheads across the country.
These grid and solar-powered charging stations will be open to vehicles of other brands, but free for Jeep users. Utah will actually be one of the first states to see one. Along with Big Bear, California and the Rubicon Trail in Pollock Pines, California, Moab is tapped as one of the program's initial three locations.
That's now, but what's coming in the future? Apart from taking your Wrangler under the waves, there's a lot to be excited about. Among the new technologies teased by Jeep are biometric recognition, dynamic tire pressure while off-roading, Jeep-to-Jeep EV charging and Jeep-to-drone pairing.
And that's just what'll be here by 2025. Even more exciting is the technology slated for 2030, which includes autonomous off-roading capabilities. That means you'll be able to set off for a hike at one trailhead and have your car meet you at the next one. Rafters should be particularly excited about this future feature, which may finally be the solution to the dreaded put-in car shuffle. Of course, that might not even be a problem anymore when they can just take their car on the river instead.
The future looks bright for Jeep, and the present's not too shabby either. With 80 years in the rearview, this American staple is still focused on the road ahead. And with Jeep's new technologies evolving every day, no one will mind if that road's a bit bumpy.
Shop land-bound Jeep listings on KSL Cars today.