Could this EV sports car be FCA’s answer to Tesla?

Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne has once again opened the door for the company to begin adding full electric vehicles to its lineup of brands, including one for Maserati - an electric sports car - that could be developed to compete against Tesla.

The Maserati Alfieri, in particular, was hinted at as a possible model that could spawn a battery-electric version. He didn’t dive into the specifics of this consideration, but he did tell Bloomberg that a Maserati electric sports car shouldn’t be expected in the near future, or at least not until the Italian automaker completes its five-year plan that ends in 2018. Given that Maserati’s time table is two years away, it’s reasonable to think that this won’t be the last we hear of a possible EV version of the Alfieri.

Remember, this isn’t the first time that Marchionne has hinted on a possible Tesla fighter, although this is the first time we’ve heard any EV ties to the Alfieri. Back in April 2016, the FCA chief told Automotive News Europe that it’s looking at the success of the Tesla Model 3 and if it proves to be successful, FCA would “copy the formula, add the Italian design flair, and get it to the market within 12 months."

The FCA chief was a little more realistic this time, saying that FCA isn’t in any rush to fully commit to electric vehicles and that the company will have to experiment with the feasibility of EVs the same way it’s doing now to connected cars and mobility. But, this is the second time in three months that we’ve heard Marchionne discuss the potential of a Tesla fighter. That may or may not mean something in the long run, but the fact that the Maserati Alfieri’s name was specifically mentioned may be a hint that there’s more going on within FCA and Maserati than meets the eye.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

I love the idea of Maserati introducing an all-electric version of the Alfieri, but something about Sergio Marchionne’s comments makes me wonder if it will even come to that point for the sports car. On the surface, it looks very appealing and that’s part of the reason why I wanna see it come to fruition.

But, if you read Marchionne’s comments, it doesn’t look like he’s trying to push the idea himself. It feels like he said it just for the sake of saying it. There was no excitement behind his words, like a “wait for it, guys! It’s coming!” tone. There was none of that. Instead, he was guarded with his words and even dismissed the notion that electrification is the way to go as “others” are so convinced that it is.

So, I’m going to take this one with a grainh full of salt. I’m not going to outwardly dismiss it because the possibility is still there, however slim it sounds. The fact that Maserati isn’t thinking about anything other than completing its five-year plan in 2018 also lends credence to my doubts. Who knows what the industry will look like next year, let alone another one after that.

If there’s anything about Marchionne’s comments about a Maserati sports car that I’m going to take to the bank, it’s that if it does happen, it won’t be under his watch. His term as CEO of FCA ends in 2019 so unless he has a dramatic change-of-heart, I don’t expect to see a Maserati EV until his successor, whoever that may be, is in charge. And who knows, that person might be cooler on EVs than Marchionne himself.

Maserati Alfieri

2014 Maserati Alfieri High Resolution Exterior
- image 544447

Read our full review on the Maserati Alfieri here.

Source: Bloomberg

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