Maserati has become the latest automaker to lay out plans to go all-electric, the high-performance luxury arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles saying it will get there by mid-decade.
Facing increasingly stringent fuel economy and emissions mandates around the world, automakers are rapidly ramping up EV plans. General Motors CEO Mary Barra repeatedly has said the company is on a “path to an all-electric future,” and even exotic Bentley expects to phase out internal combustion engines by 2026.
But Maserati had been slow to embrace electrification until recently, the FCA subsidiary only revealing its first hybrid, a version of the Ghibli sedan, back in July. It also will launch a hybrid version of its second SUV, the Grecale, next year, CEO Davide Grasso said during a web-based fashion event.
Initially, the Grecale will be available with either a conventional gas, or a hybrid-electric powertrain. Later on, an all-electric model will follow, according to the automaker.
And still more battery-based products are in the pipeline, according to Grasso. “The new Gran Turismo and Gran Cabrio models will be electrified, too,” he said during the webcast, adding that, “All our line-up will be electrified in the next five years.”
Moving forward, all-electric Maseratis will be dubbed “Folgore,” the Italian word for lighting. The Gran Turismo and Gran Cabrio are expected to be the first all-electric offerings from the brand, ahead of the Grecale.
Maserati’s electrification strategy has gone through a number of changes in the last several years – in line with the shifting direction of parent FCA.
Former Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne was a severe skeptic – once asking potential customers not to buy the all-electric Fiat 500e because the company lost thousands of dollars on every one it built. But Marchionne outlined plans for several hybrid Maseratis during a June 2018 strategy session in Italy.
A few months after the CEO’s unexpected death, successor Michael Manley began an internal push to expand FCA’s electrification plans. All of the company’s various divisions, including U.S.-based Chrysler, Dodge, Ram and Jeep, are now adding – or at least exploring – battery options, as are both Italian brands Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Maserati.
Like its competitors, FCA’s new push is being driven by a variety of factors, according to industry analysts, starting with tough new global emissions and fuel economy mandates. The UK, for example, this month moved up to 2030 the point at which it will ban the sale of new vehicles using internal combustion engines. Similar measures are being studied by regulators around the world, including those in California and the nearly two dozen states that copy its emissions rules. Meanwhile, cities like London, Berlin and Paris plan to ban all gas and diesel vehicles from entering their central zones.
Every major automaker, even niche players like, Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Ferrari, are now developing all-electric models. Bentley earlier this month said it will phase out gas and diesel drivetrains entirely by 2026.
While it is unclear how traditional customers will react, Bentley said it received positive feedback from a majority of existing customers and expects to find even more support from future buyers. On the plus side, electric motors can deliver tremendous off-the-line acceleration, a big plus for buyers of products from performance brands like Maserati. Luxury buyers are less averse to paying the premium for battery technology and newer batteries are starting to overcome the biggest obstacle to widespread EV adoption, delivering range that, on some products, is now running to more than 500 miles per charge.