The Jeep 4xe hybrid model occasionally displays the error message “Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable.” Preventing you from driving in electric mode. It is typically accompanied by a “Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode” or a “Cabin Cooling or Heating” message. “Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable” appears on Jeep 4xe for one of the following reasons: a problem with the battery pack or electric motor, stale oil, or a malfunctioning battery heater/electric coolant heater. It’s mostly a warning that it’s so cold that the Jeep 4xe can’t run on batteries alone.
While the problem can be frustrating, you must investigate the causes. From there, potential solutions and preventative measures will emerge. Jeep Wrangler 4xe owners can maximize their hybrid investment by understanding the underlying factors.
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What is the Jeep 4xe “Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable” Error?
The Jeep 4xe electric mode is a feature that enables the vehicle to run solely on battery power. Because the battery pack needs to warm up before it can provide enough power to run the electric motor, you may receive an “Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable” notification on your Jeep 4xe in cold weather. The Jeep can still run on gasoline without the electric mode, but it will be less efficient.
Jeep 4xe “Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable” message comes on the display with typically two other messages.
- Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode (FORM)
- Cabin Cooling or Heating (CHOC)
Sometimes it says “Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode”; in that case, people call it EMU+FORM. Or “Cabin Cooling or Heating”, people call it EMU+CHOC. But several other times, it simply says, “Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable”.
Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode (FORM)
The vehicle’s Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode frequently runs the internal combustion engine (ICE) in cold weather. Gasoline and oil don’t mix when FORM cycles keep gaskets and seals warm and expanded. To achieve this, the internal combustion engine is briefly fired while it is at operating temperature. Usually, some gas and oil get mixed up in internal combustion engines. But the heat from normal operation evaporates that small amount of gas. That isn’t always the case with plug-in hybrids, which can operate for extended periods without using the combustion engine.
Maintaining oil temperatures at or above 192 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 20 minutes is crucial, which hasn’t always been possible in the northern states without modifications. Jeep 4xe keeps showing the “Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable, Fuel and Oil Refresh In Progress” message. As a result, Jeeps cannot reach the manufacturer-stated 21 to 25 miles of battery-only range for months when it is cold outside.
Cabin Cooling or Heating (CHOC)
When the temperature drops too low, or the defrost mode is activated, the cabin temperature drops, and the electric heater cannot keep up. Because of that, the “Cabin Cooling or Heating” error pops up, and electric mode becomes temporarily unavailable.
Jeep 4xe Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable: What are the symptoms?
Many Jeep Wrangler 4xe and Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe owners have experienced a situation in which their vehicle’s electric mode is temporarily unavailable. In some cases, this problem occurs when driving in all-electric mode for extended periods, resulting in a loss of power and difficulty maintaining speed. Furthermore, some drivers have reported seeing an “Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable” message on their dashboard display despite having sufficient battery capacity.
Jeep 4xe Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable: What are the causes?
The cold weather is not the only cause of the temporary unavailability of the electric mode. Other causes include:
1. Continuous High-Speed Operation in the Electronic Mode
Electric mode is not intended for long periods of high-speed operation. Assume you try to drive in electric mode at speeds greater than 40 mph for an extended period. In that case, the electric mode will be temporarily unavailable because using the engine at high speeds is more efficient than using an electric drive.
2. Runout of Electric Range
If you have been driving in electric mode for a long time and your battery pack runs low on power, the electric mode may become temporarily unavailable. In this case, you must recharge the battery pack before returning to the electric way, or you can continue in hybrid mode.
3. Driving Aggressively
You may heavily press the accelerator while driving, requesting power demand that exceeds the limits of the electric drivetrain. This will start the engine, allowing the powertrain to produce its full combined power in hybrid mode.
4. Using the Paddle Shifters
The electric mode may become temporarily unavailable if you use the paddle shifters instead of the auto mode. This is because using the paddle shifters activates the gasoline engine, which consumes more energy than the battery pack can provide.
5. Cooling System Malfunction
The Jeep 4xe electric mode is temporarily unavailable because the cooling system struggles to keep the 4xe’s batteries and P2 motor at optimal temperatures. Overheating these vital parts can temporarily suspend electric mode to protect the system from damage.
6. The Hood is Open (or there is a hood switch malfunction)
Yes, even leaving the hood open can temporarily disable the electric mode. This is because the battery pack requires a specific temperature to function correctly, and if the hood is open, it cannot maintain that temperature.
7. Transfer Case and Drive Mode Selection
Selecting specific drive modes will also start the gasoline engine. The engine almost always starts when in eSave mode. The engine will also run if you are in hybrid mode or in 4WD Low.
8. HV Battery Under-Voltage
Sustained high-speed EV operation, particularly with aftermarket wheels and tires, can cause the electric mode to become temporarily unavailable to protect the components.
9. The Engine, Transmission, or Engine Starting Belt is too Cold
If the outside temperature is below 32°F (15°F in electric drive mode), some systems won’t operate as intended.
10. Overheating HV Batteries, Motors, or Contactors
This is a hardware safety feature. The high-voltage battery, motors, or contractors may overheat. When protection is no longer required, vehicle performance will resume. If the vehicle’s performance is accompanied by a Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL), take it to an authorized dealership for service.
Jeep 4xe Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable: What should you do about it?
If you live in a colder climate, such as the upper Midwest, get used to seeing the “Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable” message. It refuses to switch to electric mode when it gets cold. You cannot override it. This safety feature keeps the gas engine warm to prevent excessive wear and tear if the engine starts at high revs while driving. This is fine if it is only temporary and, as the weather improves, if it works again.
However, if you notice the Jeep 4xe “Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable” in normal weather conditions, you have a problem. While it starts at low temperatures, once it does, you have a four-cylinder gas Jeep that gets 22 MPG and will randomly switch to the electric mode for 2-4 miles.
If you are in electric mode and require more power than the electric side can supply, the ICE should activate as needed. You should still use the electric mode, though. The electric mode does not prevent the ICE from starting; it simply raises the threshold for it to start.
If you’re experiencing “Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable” issues, you can try a few things to resolve the issue.
- Allow your engine to warm up in idle mode until it reaches 200 degrees Fahrenheit or higher before driving.
- A hybrid battery pack consists of several smaller batteries. These batteries must be at a specific temperature to function correctly. Driving the Jeep for a short distance is the best way to warm them up. This will allow the battery pack to generate enough heat to operate at the proper temperature.
- Turn the seat heaters on. Turning on the seat heaters is another way to generate heat. This will help warm up the battery pack and reactivate the electric mode.
- If the electric mode isn’t working, try using the paddle shifters. This will activate the gasoline engine and assist in warming up the battery pack.
- Drive your Jeep for a long time to “burn out” fuel that has gotten into the oil.
- Drive until the low fuel level warning light comes on to use up the stale fuel in the tank.
- Monitor your battery charge levels regularly and perform maintenance checks to avoid problems.
- Visit the dealership to ensure that all recalls and available updates have been received.
Electric Mode Unavailable: Cabin Cooling or Heating. Why does it come on?
When the outside temperature is below 15°F, the PHEV Jeep Wrangler can warm the interior more effectively than BEVs. When the message “Electric Mode Unavailable, Cabin Cooling or Heating” appears on your Jeep 4xe, you cannot access electric mode, and the hybrid is entirely non-electric. It’s a warning that it’s too cold to run on batteries alone. This frequently occurs on cold days. The ICE is used to power the vehicle and warm up the cabin sufficiently to allow the batteries to reach an acceptable efficiency level.
For some Jeep drivers, getting out of it has proven difficult. Because Jeep Wranglers lack engine louvres and cannot retain engine heat long enough to reach full operating temperature, they are especially vulnerable in cold climates. Anything below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) activates the ICE, which must run for approximately 10 minutes. The longer, the cooler it gets. It will no longer switch to electric at 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit).
However, the issue persists for some Jeep owners even when the weather improves. We are constantly hearing from people stuck in what has become known as EMU+CHOC, a key indicator of a bad electric coolant heater. When no engine heat is generated, an electric heater core is installed in line with the regular radiator to provide heat. When this fails on your Jeep 4xe, you will receive the warning “Electric Mode Unavailable: Cabin Cooling or Heating”.
A defective battery heater that is malfunctioning can cause this issue as well.
Electric Mode Unavailable, Cabin Cooling or Heating: What Should You Do About It?
The battery’s operation is significantly reduced in cold weather. You can’t expect it to run on batteries alone when it’s that cold outside. Once the temperature gets over 0°C, it’ll work better.
If you receive the “Electric Mode Unavailable, Cabin Cooling or Heating” error message when the temperature rises, and a check engine light illuminates immediately after the electric mode becomes temporarily unavailable, there could be an issue with the hybrid battery heating. Your dealership will perform a software update to resolve the issue.
Reduce the fan speed and avoid using maximum heat or cool to see if the pure electric operation is possible.
Start the vehicle while plugged in and let it run to precondition it. If it heats up in this mode, your electric heater is fine and couldn’t heat things up quickly enough without the help of the ICE.
Suppose your Jeep 4xe is in ICE mode in normal weather, and you receive the “Electric Mode Unavailable, Cabin Cooling or Heating” message. In that case, your dealership may tell you it is normal. But the issue has impacted a lot of people. Jeep advised that the electronic coolant heater be replaced. Replacing the electric coolant heater will ensure that your Jeep 4xe runs smoothly. If the problem persists, contact your local dealer and inquire about it. You will no longer receive a cabin heating or cooling notification, even in cold weather.
Your battery coolant heater may fail if your climate controls are turned on and you cannot drive electric. While charging, your electric heater will not function. The check engine light will illuminate. You need to get it replaced.
In cold weather, the engine takes a while to warm up, and the large grill isn’t helpful either. To retain heat while driving in winter, some owners have blocked off their front grille entirely with a grill cover; in fact, Mopar sells a specialized cover for the Wrangler.
Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable: Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode. Why does it come on?
If your Jeep 4xe’s display cluster shows “Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable”, followed by “Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode”, if you scroll, you’re in FORM or “Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode”.
The Jeep 4xe can be driven for long periods without using the gas engine. But because the engine is not operating at normal operating temperatures, the fuel in the tank may become stale, and/or the lubricating properties of the engine oil may be diminished.
To avoid damage to the engine or fuel system brought on by old fuel or lubrication, the Jeep 4xe has a Fuel Oil Refresh Mode (FORM). When in this mode, the gas engine must run at normal operating temperatures, and there is no EV propulsion (electric mode is temporarily unavailable). Adding new fuel forces you to burn off some old fuel/clears. When the Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode is active, a reminder message appears in the cluster during the initial startup.
The lubrication-based mode is more likely to be activated during frequent short trips at low ambient temperatures, where the engine does not reach normal operating temperatures. Short acceleration events in cold temperatures (which is to be expected on a PHEV in winter) result in gas passing through the cold piston rings and contaminating the oil. The vehicle detects this and demands that the oil be heated long enough to boil the gas. Once the process starts, you’ll see “Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable Fuel And Oil Refresh In Progress” on your Jeep 4xe display.
Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable, Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode: What should you do about it?
FORM guards against specific driving habits that are harmful to the engine. The fact that electric mode is temporarily unavailable and Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode has come on does not indicate a problem. It may occur when the temperature is extremely low. After sufficiently driving around with the gas engine for multiple trips, FORM should complete its course, and electric mode should be available again. You’ll be fine when the weather warms up, or you get an oil change in the spring. It is relatively typical for a plug-in hybrid. You must keep the oil and fuel moving.
The engine will run if the vehicle enters Fuel Oil Refresh Mode due to stale fuel, and no EV operation will take place until the low fuel level warning is reached. When the vehicle is operational, the engine can run for up to 2 hours when fully warmed up. If the car is turned off before the conditions for exiting the refresh mode are met, the engine may run longer on subsequent trips. When the conditions are met, the vehicle automatically exits the Fuel Oil Refresh Mode. Oil refresh takes a lot longer when it’s freezing outside. Do not try to return to Electric Mode until the FORM cycle has finished.
If you frequently see the FORM message, take the Jeep 4xe on a long round trip and keep it in 4-5th gear on the highway until the message disappears, working as it should again. When it does, you can switch back to electric mode, and the ICE will stop as it should. Bring the oil to temperature and hold it there for about an hour to allow it to come out of the FORM. Frequent trips lasting 10 minutes are not sufficient. A long drive at a specific temperature is required to clear it and enable electric mode. After driving to heat up the oil, the message may clear a few cycles later. Sometimes it clears while driving.
If desired, the Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode can be exited by adding at least 4 gallons of new fuel to the vehicle. A minimum of 4 gallons is required for the Jeep Wrangler. A minimum of 5 gallons is required for the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Adding fuel will not cause the Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode to be exited earlier if the vehicle has entered it to keep the engine lubricated. If the car enters Fuel Oil Refresh Mode to meet lubrication requirements, the engine must operate at maximum operating temperatures for 20 minutes to 2 hours. The best way is to continuously drive the engine at highway speeds above 50 mph. The Jeep 4xe will then show “Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable Fuel And Oil Refresh In Progress”. If the vehicle is turned off without the required amount of accumulated engine-only run time, the engine will continue to run without entering EV mode on subsequent trips.
Short trips in colder weather where the engine does not reach normal operating temperatures are more likely to activate the Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode. If the instrument cluster indicates that the engine oil needs to be changed, do not reset the service indicator without first changing the oil, as this may cause engine damage. Changing the oil and resetting the service reminder is recommended if the engine run time is not met between oil changes.
How Soon Can the Electric Mode Become Available?
The time it takes for the electric mode to become available again is determined by the reason it was previously unavailable.
If the battery pack needs to be warmed up, it should only take a few minutes for the electric mode to be restored. However, recharging the battery pack will take longer before the electric mode is available if the battery pack is depleted.
What Does it Mean for Jeep 4xe Owners?
Jeep Wrangler 4xe and Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe owners have expressed concern about the “Electric Mode Temporarily Unavailable” issue. Owners are now questioning the reliability of the vehicle’s battery-only range, which claims to be 21-25 miles in cold weather conditions. It stops the owner from fully utilizing the vehicle’s potential and driving experience.
Some owners have reported that the electric mode was temporarily unavailable, with a sudden loss of power and difficulty maintaining speed. The performance of the Jeep Wrangler 4xe is impacted by this issue, which also makes people worry about the general safety of these cars on the road.
It also changes owners’ perceptions of electric vehicles in general. As a result, prospective buyers may be hesitant to purchase electric cars. For electric vehicles to be successful on the market over the long term, the manufacturer must address the unfortunate reality that electric mode has limitations in cold weather.
Furthermore, the temporarily unavailable Jeep Wrangler 4xe electric mode may encourage owners to use the gasoline engine mode more frequently. Because of this, the hybrid-electric car’s overall fuel consumption increases, diminishing its environmental advantages.
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The ability to drive up to 21 miles in electric-only mode is a significant reason why Jeep Wrangler 4xe owners pay nearly $24,000 more than regular Wrangler owners. Unfortunately, many Jeep Wrangler 4xe owners are finding that as soon as winter arrives, their vehicles decide that it is too cold outside to run in electric mode and force the engine to engage, making the electric mode temporarily unavailable for a number of hours or hundreds of miles.
Owners in colder climates will quickly learn that their $54,000 Jeeps are now underpowered and only achieve, at best, 20 MPG combined before the 4xe’s ECU restores hybrid capabilities. This is because no electric motor supports the 2.0L turbo gas engine.
Starting in a cold environment is one of the circumstances that disables EV mode. Then there are problems with the electronic coolant heater/battery heater, which causes a cooling or heating error in the cabin. Fortunately, replacing those parts will resume normal operation.
To prevent the fuel and oil in a Wrangler 4XE from growing stale due to repeated use of EV mode, there is also Fuel and Oil Refresh Mode (FORM), which turns off EV mode when certain conditions are met.
In general, FORM disappears when oil temperatures exceed 210F for at least 20 minutes, which could take hundreds of miles or hours in cold temperatures.
Most drivers don’t drive for enough time for the oil to stay that hot. It’s also not an obscure problem; it’s detailed in the Jeep 4xe Hybrid Supplement distributed to owners.
If you live in a cold climate and are considering getting a Jeep Wrangler 4xe, ask other 4xe owners in your area about their experiences and whether they see FORM frequently.
If not, you might end up in a hybrid that is only good for the summer.