Maserati confirms that it does have plans to launch its own electric vehicle. Thanks to Tesla, electric cars are slowly but surely gaining a chunk of the automotive market. The way it charmed customers with its EV offerings – even though costing much money -- have earned the respect of many premium carmakers around the world. This is why quite a number of them have made Tesla as standard for their plans to launch their own EV offerings.
Right now, only a few premium carmakers have yet to electrify their lineup. Others have been racing to adopt electrification and capture a part of Tesla’s overwhelming market share. As for Maserati – a unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles -- it knows that it would be the last among premium carmakers to enter the fray. And because it’s one of the last to arrive, it has plenty of catching up to do. That’s why it assures us that its electric vehicle will not be a clone of anything that’s set to enter the market.
To realize plans to release a Maserati EV, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief executive Sergio Marchionne recently poached Roberto Fedeli from BMW’s i division to head engineering and development for both Maserati and Alfa Romeo. In an interview with Car and Driver on the sidelines of the Paris Auto Show, Fedeli remarked that Maserati may be able to unveil its own electric car as early as 2019, which means that the production version may reach the auto market only around 2020. By this time, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Infiniti, Lexus and Volvo are already expected to have released their own EV offerings.
Fedeli remarked that Maserati has to arrive to the market with something different. Yes, Maserati is not planning to create a Tesla-like contender. Interestingly, while other carmakers are benchmarking Tesla, Maserati plans to do the opposite. Fedeli enumerated the reasons.
First, Maserati has no plans to offer its first electric car to the masses; it will be a specialized and a low volume EV. This means that this Maserati EV would be a sleek grand-touring coupe instead of an electric sedan that could compete against a Tesla.
Second, Fideli doesn’t regard Tesla as the best product in the market. He quipped that its execution as well as quality is comparable to a German OEM in the 1970s, adding that their solutions are not the best.
Third, the new EV should feel like a Maserati. Fideli noted current electric cars are too heavy to be enjoyable to drive. He remarked that the only enjoyable attribute of current EVs is their impressive acceleration of around three seconds.
For now, Maserati will have to start from ground up. This is primarily because Fiat-Chrysler’s only electric model on offer is the Fiat 500e, which is considered as a compliance car that is sold in a few states.