Fiat Chrysler’s premium Maserati brand will lead the automaker’s shift toward powertrain electrification, according to a report from Automotive News Europe. CEO Sergio Marchionne says that while FCA is aiming for more than half of its portfolio to be electrified by 2022, it has set a more ambitious goal for Maserati: to make every model from the famous Italian brand electrified after 2019.
“When [Maserati] completes the development of its next two models, it will effectively switch all of its portfolio to electrification,” Marchionne said during an earnings call earlier in the week. “It’s an integral part of the development of all of the group.”
The choice to lead the charge toward electrification with Maserati – a brand whose portfolio currently contains no electrified models – is a surprising one, but it makes sense given the expense of electrified-vehicle production; Maserati buyers are willing and able to pay elevated prices, meaning that Fiat Chrysler won’t have to lose money on each example sold like they do with the Fiat 500e.
The issue isn’t the cost of R&D, says Marchionne, but of components such as batteries, motors, and the like. Such costs will not decline quickly, he says.
As for what’s prompting FCA’s sudden interest in accelerating its electrification efforts, one need look no further than the handful of countries that have set target dates by which they hope to completely phase out petrol and diesel vehicles. Norway’s mandate – that all new passenger vehicles be emissions-free by 2025 – is the most aggressive, while Britain and France have both announced that they will require all new cars to use some form of alternative propulsion by 2040.
And, Marchionne says that Fiat Chrysler’s diesel emissions scandal is partly to blame, too. “What has really made the issue absolutely mandatory now is the fate of diesel… especially in Europe,” he said. “Some type of electrification on gas engines is inevitable.”