June 16, 2024
Electric & Hybrid Cars

Exploring the Design Features of the Jeep Wagoneer S: Innovative Aerodynamics, Stylish Materials, and Fresh Perspective from Young Designers

We had a conversation with Stellantis Chief Design Officer Ralph Gilles during the unveiling of the Jeep Wagoneer S, where he shared some intriguing details about the development of the electric SUV’s design. One of the questions we asked was why the Wagoneer S was chosen as the lead for an electric Jeep, especially when the Recon may seem more fitting for the brand. Gilles explained that a key factor was the desire to offer a vehicle with significant range, with a target of 300 miles. This led to a design that was lower and more aerodynamic.

Gilles mentioned that the design work began approximately four years ago, and highlighted that the Wagoneer S design team primarily consisted of Millennial and Gen Z designers. The main sketch guiding the project was created by a 29-year-old designer. The youthful team brought a fresh perspective and collaborative spirit to the project, free from preconceived notions of what a Jeep should look like. Gilles expressed pride in the design’s maturity and its ability to not obviously appear as an electric vehicle.

The young design team also played a significant role in material choices for the Wagoneer S. They influenced the decision to move away from traditional luxury materials like wood, opting instead for various metal trimmings such as aluminum and zinc. Additionally, the team eschewed chrome due to environmental concerns and a desire to move away from more conventional design elements.

Gilles highlighted the absence of piano black plastic in the interior of the Wagoneer S, replaced by ceramic-coated and textured aluminum in areas where it would typically be found. This change was made in response to customer feedback regarding fingerprints and scratches, with Jeep even providing microfiber cleaning cloths to new Wagoneer owners for maintenance.

Aerodynamics played a crucial role in achieving the 300-mile range target for the Wagoneer S. The design team incorporated the “R-Wing” to conceal the SUV’s sloping fastback, initially for stylistic purposes. However, the aerodynamics team was able to enhance the functionality of the wing over time.

Gilles acknowledged the challenge of redesigning the iconic Jeep grille without the need for cooling in an electric vehicle. The solid grille of the Wagoneer S features lights above the slots that reflect light outward, maintaining the design element while adapting to the EV platform.

When asked about the Trailhawk concept, Gilles explained that it was a relatively recent development. While the Wagoneer S was initially intended as a high-range luxury model and the Recon for off-road capability, the team couldn’t resist creating a Trailhawk version due to Jeep’s tradition of offering Trailhawk variants.

FAQ Section:

Q: When did the design work for the Wagoneer S begin?

A: Approximately four years ago.

Q: What influenced the choice of materials for the Wagoneer S?

A: The young design team preferred metal trimmings like aluminum and zinc over traditional luxury materials.


In conclusion, the design of the Jeep Wagoneer S was a collaborative effort led by a young and innovative design team. The focus on aerodynamics, material choices, and maintaining iconic Jeep elements without compromising on EV functionality resulted in a unique and visually appealing electric SUV.

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