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2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe hybrid SUV electrifies an off-road icon

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What could be the most important model in Jeep’s range has been revealed, with the 2021 Wrangler 4xe bringing hybrid electric power to the iconic SUV. Headed to dealerships by early in the new year, the Wrangler 4xe combines a gas engine with two electric motors, and can run on EV power alone for up to 25 miles.

It’s part of Jeep’s push to electrify all of its models in some form, with the automaker promising that batteries will only make the Wrangler experience more enjoyable rather than dilute what enthusiasts love about it. A big part of that is instantaneous torque, courtesy of the two electric motors, though the ability to cruise near-silently through off-road situations might be a close second.

In the case of the 2021 Wrangler 4xe, Jeep has used a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 gas engine and a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. That’s paired with a transmission-mounted motor generator, which replaces the usual torque converter, and another motor generator which replaces the alternator on the engine. Altogether you get 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, with Jeep estimating it’ll be good for 50 MPGe on the EPA test cycle.

The battery is a 400-volt, 17 kWh pack, with all 96 lithium-ion cells sandwiched under the second row seats. It’s encased in an aluminum housing, with a dedicated heating and cooling circuit, and all the high-voltage electronics and wiring are sealed and waterproof so that the Wrangler 4xe can still ford up to 30 inches of water.

Charging is via a port on the left front cowl, with a push-open cover. Three different Wrangler 4xe E Select drive modes are available for actually using the electric power.

Hybrid is the default, and blends power from the gas and electric drivetrains with a preference for battery power first. In Electric mode, the Wrangler 4xe runs on battery power only, until either it runs flat or the driver requires more power; at that point, the gas engine kicks in. Finally, eSave mode prioritizes the gas engine, saving the battery for later. A Battery Charge during eSave option actively tops the battery up from the gas engine.

For regenerative braking, up to 0.25g of slowing can pump charge back into the batteries. If 4×4 is engaged, all four wheels are used for regen; there’s also a Max Regen option that’s driver-selectable and will be “more assertive” in how much it slows the SUV when you lift off the accelerator.

Since 4×4 performance isn’t something that Jeep could compromise on, the 2021 Wrangler 4×4 will offer three models: 4xe, Sahara 4xe, and Rubicon 4xe. The first two get full-time 4×4 systems, front and rear Dana 44 axles, and the Selec-Trac two-speed transfer case with a 2.72:1 low-range gear ratio. All power modes are available in 4Lo mode, too, and there’s an optional Trac-Lok limited-slip differential.

For the 2021 Wrangler Rubicon 4xe, that gets the Rock-Trac 4×4 system with a two-speed transfer case with 4:1 low-range gear ratio, full-time 4×4, Dana 44 axles, and Tru-Lok electric front- and rear-axle lockers. Jeep says it has a crawl ratio of 77.2:1, along with electronic sway-bar disconnect on the front axle for more articulation and total suspension travel.

Selec-Speed Control with Hill-ascent and Hill-descent is on every Wrangler 4xe, and there are skid plates and front and rear tow hooks, 20-inch wheels on the Wrangler 4xe and Sahara 4xe, and 17-inch off-road wheels with 33-inch tires on the Rubicon 4xe. That version has an approach angle of 44-degrees, breakover angle of 22.5-degrees, departure angle of 35.6-degrees, and 10.8-inches of ground clearance.

Outside, it’s instantly recognizable as a Wrangler. There’ll be Electric Blue elements – like the tow hooks and badging – to highlight the electrification, with matching trim and seat stitching inside. Ten colors will be offered, and there’ll also be a variety of Mopar parts including a 240V home charger.

Jeep says that the 2021 Wrangler 4xe will arrive in US, Europe, and China dealerships by early 2021. Pricing will be confirmed closer to release.

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The Most Expensive NFTs Ever Purchased

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One of the earliest examples of an NFT collection on the Ethereum blockchain, CryptoPunks have grown to be among the most valuable collections in the world. They are a set of 10,000 unique, algorithmically-generated “Punk” characters that, according to their creators Larva Labs, served as the inspiration for the ERC-721 standard, an interface that now powers that majority of Ethereum-based NFTs. A CryptoPunk’s value is determined by the rarity of its attributes: the rarer the attributes, the more valuable the NFT.

CryptoPunk #5822 is one of the rarest of all, which explains its incredible selling price. Firstly, it has just one attribute, a feature that only 2% of the collection shares. That single attribute is a bandana, which is rare in itself, as only 5% of the collection sport one. The Punk’s skin type is alien, which is the biggest factor in pushing up this NFT’s value, as only 0.09% of the collection share this skin, a total of 9 NFTs out of a collection of 10,000. Punk #5822 was bought by Deepak Thapliyal, CEO of blockchain tech company Chain, for 8,000 ETH, roughly $23.7 million USD at the time of sale.

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Self-Repairing Electronics Are Closer To Reality Than You Think

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A research group led by Professor Yehonadav Bekenstein from the Faculty of Materials Sciences and Engineering and the Solid-State Institute at Technion was studying perovskite nanoparticles for their potential to provide a green alternative to toxic lead materials used heavily in electronics. In doing so, they found something unexpected.

The team found on a microscopic level that the nanocrystals moved a hole (damage) through the areas of a structure to self-heal. Surprised by this, the researchers drew up a code to analyze microscopic videos and understand the dynamics and movements within the crystal. The researchers realized that the damaged area, or hole, formed on the surface of the nanoparticles, then moved to energetically stable areas inside, and was finally “spontaneously ejected” out. Researchers explained that through this self-healing process, the nanocrystals essentially reverted back to being undamaged (per Technion). 

Researchers with Technion believe that this discovery is a key step toward understanding the processes by which perovskite nanoparticles can heal themselves. The team also thinks that perovskite nanoparticles should be used in solar panels and other electronic devices. The full study, published by Advanced Functional Materials and made available at the Wiley Online Library, is titled “Self-Healing of Crystal Voids in Double Perovskite Nanocrystals Is Related to Surface Passivation.”

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This Astonishing Vision AMG Sports EV Will Somehow Spawn Production Electric Cars

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It’s no secret that Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance division has been downsizing from high-strung, gas-fed internal combustion engines to lower-displacement mills infused with some form of hybrid or mild hybridization. The incoming AMG C63 S, for instance, will make do without its raucous 4.0-liter bi-turbo engine. Instead, it will have a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a mild-hybrid powertrain. The Manhart CR 700 is one of the last modified C 63 S wagons with AMG’s muscular turbocharged V8 motor.

Meanwhile, the Vision AMG concept harks the beginning of a zero-emissions future without sacrificing style or the brand’s hallmark “AMG driving experience.” The Vision AMG has innovative axial flux motors (similar to Vision EQXX) developed by Mercedes subsidiary YASA. The brand claims its new electric motors are smaller, lighter, and produce more power than conventional electric motors. Mercedes-AMG did not mention motor outputs, battery sizes, or range numbers. Still, it did say Vision AMG’s drivetrain would be “developed entirely from scratch,” including a new high-performance, high-voltage battery, and a “revolutionary drive technology,” said Mercedes-AMG.

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