|All motorsports series have some very hard choices to make – go all-electric to be relevant to passenger cars, or say screw it, we'll have screaming internal combustion engines outsourced to a third party and forego the manufacturer money.|
During an intense four-week period where the car world spoke of little else but electric power – electric Volvos, electric Minis, Tesla’s Model 3, Porsche and Mercedes to Formula E, the Renault Zoe e-Sport – one of the last hold-outs for conventional engines is beginning to topple. Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of the Fiat-Chrysler Group, began to flesh out a plan to electrify the Group’s cars, beginning with Maserati and its long-postponed Alfieri smaller sports coupe (pictured above).
Earlier in the year the Group officially announced that it was developing an all-new electric platform for Maserati, but we now know that Maserati will be a springboard for EV technology that’ll migrate across the group.
Marchionne told stock market analysts: “At least one of our brands, and in particular Maserati, will, when it completes the development of its next two models, effectively switch all of its portfolio to electrification." Maserati’s next models will be a replacement for the 2+2 Grancoupe and Grancabrio in 2019.
After that, then, he’s implying it’s the EV for the Alfieri, and then other models. “Post-2019, [Maserati] will start launching vehicles which are all electric and which will embody what we consider to be state-of-the-art technology."
That development will be spread across the FCA Group. “It’s an integral part of a broader strategy on electrification which will see more than half of the Group’s fleet, by the time we hit 2022, incorporating electrification."
This will also mean electric Alfa Romeos. Alfa has stuck with a pretty simple powertrain plan so far, because it needed to launch a whole range of cars quickly. The Giulia and Stelvio are the start of that range. It couldn’t afford to do a lot of development on minority-interest powertrains while it was busy rolling out the new models.
FCA does already have a plug-in hybrid, the Pacifica. That technology will be adapted for PHEVs across the Group.
Also, FCA has said for a while that it will do a lot of work on 48-volt mild hybrids, which were a big part of why Volvo was able to say all its newly introduced cars after 2019 would be ‘electrified’.
The new emphasis on electrification is a major change of heart for FCA. Remember, so far it has made just one solitary electric car, an electrified version of the Fiat 500 which sold from 2012 to 2016 to meet a California state law. Marchionne publicly urged people not to buy it, because he said Fiat would lose $10,000 on each one. Top Gear