Maserati joins ranks of EV holdouts among exotic automakers


Teaser for Maserati Alfieri sports car

Teaser for Maserati Alfieri sports car

Although it announced the end of using Ferrari engines in its cars last week, Italian luxury-carmaker Maserati won't be going all-electric any time soon.

"This is a brand that needs combustion engines,” Maserati's North American chief, Al Gardner, told Motor Trend in an interview earlier this month. “It needs that raw emotion," he said. 

As if electric cars can't deliver raw emotion. Just ask any Tesla Model S P100D or original Roadster owner.

And Tesla's electric cars have been running over the rest of the luxury passenger-car sector in sales, to become the top selling car in both the luxury sedan and premium sedan markets. 

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Gardner is adding Maserati's voice to a chorus of classic sports-car makers saying electric is not for them. Although Porsche's parent, the VW Group is going all-in on electric cars and has said that it will transition to an all-electric automaker and is currently developing its last combustion engine, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said last November that the 911 would never become an EV. (Although two hybrid variants of the 911 are reportedly under development.)

And Gardner made his statement in the face of Fiat Chrysler's business plan announced last June, showing that Maserati planned to launch eight new plug-in hybrids and four new battery electric vehicles by 2022, and that those vehicles would cover 68 percent of the company's lineup.

Maserati 2022 roadmap

Maserati 2022 roadmap

At least some of the electric models would use 800-volt battery architecture for the fastest possible charging—up to 350 kilowatts, or an 80 percent, or bulk, charge in less than 10 minutes.

The company at the time said that the electric models would use three motors to provide torque-vectoring control, and have 50 percent more power than today's models.

Those plans aren't necessarily off the table, but according to Gardner, it won't be enough for the brand.

Just as Tesla wanted to stand out from the mass of internal-combustion cars when the company launched the Model S, Maserati and others are counting on the individualized character of internal combustion engines to stand out from the nearly silent crowd in the mainly-electric future.

 
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