An unlikely EV champion has emerged from the Fiat Chrysler portfolio of brands, with company CEO Sergio Marchionne revealing that Maserati will spearhead electrification plans before spreading the tech across other brands.
During an investor conference call Marchionne revealed that Fiat Chrysler intends to have some form of electric propulsion available across more than half its range 2022.
Britain’s Autocar has revealed that the first new vehicle to arrive with electric assistance will be a new sportscar based on 2014 Alfieri concept and riding atop an all-new platform.
Before that vehicle arrives Maserati will also add hybrid assistance to some of its current range, with a plug-in hybrid version of the Levante SUV confirmed as hybrid compatible, and likely to be the first to add the technology.
"What has really made the issue absolutely mandatory now is the fate of diesel … especially in Europe," Marchionne said in an interview with Automotive News Europe. "Some type of electrification on gas engines is inevitable."
The Maserati announcement isn’t the start of Fiat Chrysler’s electrification plans, with the Chrysler Pacifica minivan and the Fiat 500 light hatch available as a plug-in hybrid and pure EV respectively in the United States.
The timing of the electrification roll-out also aligns with Volvo’s earlier announcement that as of 2019 all its new vehicles would include some form of electrification, and that its Polestar performance division would become an electric performance division.
Maserati’s traditional position as a high-performance brand specialising in V8 engines has already started to shift with the addition of diesel V6 sedans and SUVs, opening the door to hybrid and plug-in hybrid alternatives.
The decision may also have been forced by the announcement of bans on the sales of new internal combustion vehicles in several European countries, including France, Norway, and the UK, over the next 20 years.
The Fiat Chrysler CEO didn’t reveal any further details as to how the electrification strategy would expand to the company’s other brands, nor what models outside of Maserati were likely to add electrification by 2022.