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2017 Jeep Wrangler may go hybrid, constructed from aluminum and carbon fiber

The Jeep Wrangler is a vehicle sort of encumbered by its success, in that everyone wants it to remain exactly the same, but improve at the same time. This is the conundrum Jeep chief, the aptly named Mike Manley, is forced to contend with as it prepares to update the vehicle for 2017. In an interview with Auto Express, Manley discusses the possibilities that lay ahead for the off-roader, including the introduction of hybrid power.

“You have the potential for hybrid powertrains in the future,” he admitted. “For those people who use the Wrangler, the most important thing is the initial torque and the crawl ratio,” said Manley. “With an electric motor you have the most torque available and with the right combination of transmission and gear ratios you can create incredible crawl ratios.”

Jeep Wrangler

It makes enough sense to make it almost a no-brainer, simultaneously supporting his claim that fuel efficiency is one of the three priorities he has focused on for the upgrade, along with preserving the vehicles look and improving the driving dynamics.

Hybrid tech finding its way in the Jeep has some downsides, particularly when it comes to off-road range. The battery would leave drivers high and dry as Manley said it would be difficult to calibrate a system for such use. Other solutions to improve its less than stellar 17/21 city/highway mpg is to implement lighter materials to its construction, such as aluminum or even carbon fiber.

Related: 2015 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited review

As merely a speculative conversation, nothing mentioned is happening for sure, apart from the fact that a 2017 update is coming. Whatever changes are pending may end up on a concept vehicle before then.