— The Jeep Wrangler 4xe fuel and oil refresh mode (FORM) feature has caused a class action lawsuit that alleges 2021 Wrangler hybrids lose the ability to run in electric-only mode.
The Jeep Wrangler 4xe is a plug-in hybrid vehicle equipped with a 17-kilowatt hour, 96-cell lithium-ion battery pack that Fiat Chrysler claims, “is capable of up to 21 miles of nearly silent, zero-emission, electric-only propulsion.”
Chrysler marketed the 2021 Wrangler hybrid as capable of running on gasoline or electricity.
But the class action lawsuit asserts the 2021 Jeep Wrangler hybrids are defective because the Jeeps improperly and frequently enter "fuel and oil refresh mode."
The alleged problem makes driving in electric mode impossible, and fuel and oil refresh mode is allegedly more likely to occur in cold weather.
According to the plaintiff, a Jeep Wrangler 4xe driver may not be able to use electric-only mode for months.
Fiat Chrysler has allegedly failed to offer suitable repairs or replacements for free, and Wrangler hybrid owners allegedly aren't offered reimbursements for out-of-pocket expenses.
The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe manual says the vehicle will enter FORM to maintain engine lubrication properties, “if the system detects a stale fuel or aged oil condition after a long period without combustion engine operation.”
The message means a driver cannot use electric power only.
The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe owner's manual also says FORM is used:
"'To prevent engine and/or fuel system damage due to stale fuel, as well as maintaining internal engine lubrication, and acknowledges the necessity of FORM because, 'it is possible to operate this vehicle for extended periods of time without running the gas engine[.]'”
But the class action alleges other conditions can trigger fuel and oil refresh mode, such as "[f]requent short trips at low ambient temperature conditions are more likely to trigger the lubrication based mode.”
The manual also says to get out of FORM: “The vehicle will automatically exit the Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode when conditions have been satisfied.
However, the lawsuit alleges FCA doesn't say what those conditions are.
The plaintiff says Chrysler even altered the language of the 2022 Jeep Wrangler 4xe owner's manual to acknowledge once the Jeep enters the FORM cycle, hours of gasoline-only operation is needed before the driver could use electric-only operability.
In addition, the plaintiff says this is a huge change from the 2021 Wrangler 4xe manual that says electric-only operation could return after only “a period of up to 20 minutes when fully warm whenever the vehicle is operational.”
And the class action lawsuit further alleges the 2022 Wrangler 4xe manual also differs by saying freezing temperatures result in a “significantly longer” period of gasoline-powered operation before electric-only operation becomes available.
The Jeep Wrangler 4xe class action lawsuit was filed by New Jersey plaintiff Jesse Crowell who purchased a new 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe in May 2021.
The Jeep Wrangler 4xe fuel and oil refresh mode lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware: Jesse Crowell v. FCA US LLC.
The plaintiff is represented by deLeeuw Law, LLC, Migliaccio & Rathod LLP, Gustafson Gluek PLLC, and Scott Hirsch Law Group, PLLC.