Tesla Motors Inc may have to contend with Maserati in the very near future. The Italian supercar maker is considering the launch of a mind-boggling EV that could outdo the Model S in terms of performance. Should it be approved, the EV will not be without that Italian supercar flair that the auto world has come to love.
Tesla can arguably be recognized as the automaker that shone the spotlight on the alternative driving scene. That, coupled with its quick and disruptive rise to the top, has sparked challenge from other car producers too. Right now, the U.S. EV company is definitely the biggest name in the luxury EV segment. However, that stands to change drastically very soon.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) — parent entity of Maserati — is mulling over the idea of a powerful EV. It wants to make an all electric version of its Maserati Alfieri sports-car. The news came from CEO Sergio Marchionne. Speaking with Bloomberg, the chief exec said that the Alfieri concept could come in two versions. One of these would be an EV that could give Tesla’s leading Model S a very hard time.
Tesla inspires contest from Maserati
Only 13 years in existence and Tesla Motors already sits at the very top of the American luxury car market. Today the sales of its flagship Model S are greater than those of any BMW, Porsche or Mercedes-Benz sedan that is currently sold in the U.S. This has inspired action among auto industry legends who now have to face the inevitability of the auto industry.
Marchionne appears very entreated by the electric car space right now. The FCA chief recently went as far as stating his own envy of the Tesla Model 3 concept. The CEO said that he too would consider doing the same if he knew how Tesla Motors was going to pull it off.
But FCA is not without its own EVs. The company has a popular version of the much-loved Fiat 500, called the 500e. Although not much of a hit in the U.S., the 500e does considerably well in Europe where smaller road cars hold more appeal.
Oddly, the mid-market is saturated with electric cars. Luxury car markers, on the others hand, have virtually been non-existent in the EV scene. Producers of high-end cars have only just emerged from their fossil fuel confines. Besides Tesla, EV fans could cite BMW’s i-series, Mercedes-Benz’s B-Class, and Volvo’s luxury plug-in hybrids among very few others. None of them sell anywhere near as well as Tesla EVs though.
EVs aren’t the solution – Marchionne
Althought, the mid-market EV space is a tough place to be in right now as well. In 2014, Marchionne said that for every 500e sold, FCA lost $10,000. The EV business places too much power in the hands of suppliers, according to him. FCA will do one or two more experiment in the electric car space before calling it quits.
The FCA chief does not believe that “electrification is the solution to all of man’s ills”.
To close the gap on Tesla Motors’ billion dollar lead in the luxury EV space, car makers saw the need to instill a lot more in their EVs than that worn-out yet no less important environmental factor. Unlike the mass-market, which has a far more accepting persona, high-end car buyers do not wish to make any sacrifices in terms of their car’s perform or aesthetic appeal. Over the last year or so, there were outbursts of high-end electric car concepts that inspire awe and promise maximum performance.
Maserati CEO Harald Wester says that the company will soon make hybrid versions of all its cars earlier this year. The stylish Levante SUV is suspected to be the first of the cars to make
Budding Tesla Killers
Porsche’s highly awaited and very boastful Mission E is but one such of concepts. The German car maker has made it no secret that it has set out to outdo Tesla in the EV segment. One of its engineers made headlines last week by pointing out a few of the performance flaws of Tesla EVs. The anonymous worker made a point of saying none of those problems would be present with the Mission E.
One of the newer contenders, yet no less a part of the rising luxury EV scene from Asia, is Faraday Future. Its Chinese-backed and U.S.-built EVs are mere months away form being built. Faraday caught the world’s attention at the Consumer Electrics Show not so long ago. It was propelled into success by the attention and subsequent investors it drew in with its FFZero1 concept. This F1-inspired EV is soon to go into production. The media paint this company as one of Tesla biggest budding rivals.
In the case of Maserati, the all-electric Alfieri is expected to come out some time after 2019.