The major luxury automakers are working on electric cars that come close to matching their internal combustion counterparts for range. The first of these should start arriving in 2018. Some examples include production versions of the Audi e-tron Quattro, Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ and Porsche Mission E concepts. Then of course there's Tesla [NSDQ:TSLA], which is constantly adding more range to its cars.
Maserati, though, won’t be competing in the space until the end of the decade—at the earliest. Speaking with Car and Driver, Maserati engineering boss Roberto Fedeli conceded that the automaker would be the last among its peers with an electric car, explaining that it will take time to develop the car as Maserati needs to start from scratch.
“We will be last [with an electric car],” he told the magazine. “I think that we could show something before 2020, maybe 2019.”
Fedeli, a Ferrari [NYSE:RACE] veteran, explained that one of the hurdles was maintaining the characteristics of a Maserati, such as an exhilarating exhaust note and agile handling, when switching to electric power. Electric cars are much quieter than internal combustion cars and tend to be weighed down by heavy batteries.
We have to admit the comments are another worrying sign about the state of FCA’s progress in the area of electric cars. Recall, CEO Sergio Marchionne earlier in 2016 stated that the company’s sole electric car, the woefully inadequate Fiat 500e, was only launched to comply with California's zero-emission vehicle rules and that customers shouldn’t buy it because the automaker loses money on each one. Hopefully Fedeli and his team at Maserati will be able to launch a competitive electric car soon because the performance bar looks to be rapidly moving higher.