The venerable Jeep Grand Cherokee, one of the longest-running SUV brands on the market, will be coming to the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit as an all-electric car.
But it isn’t heading to Detroit as an official release on the Chrysler stand. Instead, it will be there on the stand of Amp Electric Vehicles, the firm responsible for all-electric Chevrolet Equinox and all-electric Mercedes Benz ML conversions.
According to AutoblogGreen, the latest conversion is a no-brainer for the small Cincinnati firm: its 2012 Mercedes ML conversion kits fits perfectly in the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
That’s no coincidence. Back in 1998, Chrysler merged with Daimler-Benz in an attempt to strengthen both brands.
The partnership lasted nine years, and saw the two companies develop joint platforms for many of its vehicles. As a consequence, the current Jeep Grand Cherokee and Mercedes ML SUVs share a common platform.
According to sources at the company, Amp “didn’t have to change a bolt” in order to get the Amp-designed Mercedes ML conversion kit fit into the Grand Cherokee.
It did however have to revise the software that talks to the vehicle, due to differences in operating software between both vehicles.
With an expected range of about 100 miles from its 37.4 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion phosphate battery, the all-electric Jeep’s battery pack is almost as large as the 40 kilowatt-hour battery found in the base level 2012 Tesla Model S. We wouldn’t expect it to accelerate quite as briskly, however.
We’re pleased to see an all-electric Jeep Grand Cherokee make its debut in Detroit, even if it is a converted vehicle.
As for an official all-electric Jeep Grand Cherokee? Don’t hold your breath.
In fact, Chrysler's approach to greening its cars relies more heavily on diesels, with only a single electric model: a limited production run of Fiat 500 Electric minicars. It's a different approach, using Fiat's undeniable strength in diesel engined vehicles sold throughout Europe
AMP Electric converted Chevrolet Equinox electric crossover, Detroit, October 2010
In short, Chrysler -- and its sister company Fiat -- isn't fully behind electric cars...yet.
Amp electric vehicles however, are convinced that the iconic SUV will sell well, even if is priced somewhere around $60,000.
Then again, it thinks that every soccer mom wants an electric SUV.
At that price, we remain politely unconvinced.