Should you get a Level 2 charger for your Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid?

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If you’re in the market for a new Jeep Wrangler, you probably have seen the all-new 4xe version of the Sahara and Rubicon. The plug-in hybrid Jeeps represent a paradigm shift for off-roading, and based on our first drive impressions, it’s an excellent bit of kit.

In order to take advantage of driving on pure electricity, you’ll need to charge the onboard battery. On a full charge, Jeep says you’ll get 21 miles of electric-only range.

One thing you might be tempted to do is purchase a home Level 2 charger. Do you need one? Does the trickle charger that comes with the 4xe provide enough juice? Let’s consider the options.

Level 2 charging Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe IMG 3188
Photo credit: Chad Kirchner / EV Pulse

Level 1 standard charging

The Wrangler 4xe comes with a charger that plugs into a standard 110-volt house outlet. It’s capable of filling a drained battery to full in approximately 12 hours. For some people, that’s longer than just an overnight charge.

Level 2 charging

Charging with a Level 2 charger can take the an empty battery to full in approximately 2 hours. It can also charge other electric vehicles at this higher rate, in case you add a full-EV or another PHEV to your garage.

Why you should get Level 2

Getting a Level 2 charger installed at home is a pretty simple task. For the absolute ease of use, we recommend having an electrician install a NEMA 14-50 outlet in your garage.

This outlet looks like a dryer plug, and you can plug a Level 2 charger directly into it. This makes it easier to take with you if you move, or if you want to plug something else in when you aren’t charging — like an air compressor for tools — you can.

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This charger from JuiceBox is high quality (we use them at our office), and has built-in Wi-Fi so that you can use a mobile app to see how much longer your car needs to charge, control charging times, and more.

This is especially useful if your electric company offers a discounted rate during off-peak hours. You can configure that from within the charger and it’ll only charge during the off-peak, regardless of what car is plugged in.

(Editor’s note: Wrangler 4xe does have built-in charging controls to tell the car when to start charging to take advantage of off-peak charging, but if you have more than one car in the household it’s easier to tell the charger than programming it in multiple cars.)

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For a more basic charging solution, without built-in Wi-Fi, this one from ClipperCreek should do the trick.

Additionally, the faster charge time means you can spend more time driving on electricity throughout the day. Not that 21 miles isn’t enough for most people, but if you spend your time in the mornings running errands, you might be depleted when you get home from lunch.

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A quick top up before you pick the kids up from school and take them to practice means you can do that on electricity as well.

With a 12 hour charge of a Level 1 charger, you’ll have to charge overnight to get any usable range from the system.

If you just drive back and forth to work, and the total drive is under 21 miles, or if you drive to work and there’s a Level 2 charger there you can top off before coming home, then you probably don’t need a home charger.

But if you drive a bit more, or you work somewhere where you can’t charge, having a Level 2 charger installed at home makes it easy to enjoy electric-only driving more of the time in your new Jeep Wrangler 4xe.

Written by Chad Kirchner
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