Italian brand reveals Frankenstein plan
Much like monster-maker Victor Frankenstein, Maserati believes a jolt of volts will bring its revamped range to life. By 2024, the ailing Italian brand plans to offer a battery-electric version of every model it produces.
It's going to be a BEVolution, the company promises. And Maserati desperately needs to do something different …
Worldwide sales slumped to fewer than 20,000 in 2019, after briefly spiking to more than 50,000 in 2017, following the launch of its first-ever SUV, the Levante. Now, in a bid to reverse its fortunes, Maserati will update and expand its range. Electric vehicles are a key part of the turnaround strategy.
So is a new SUV. To be named Grecale, it will be smaller than the Levante. Basically, the new SUV will be an upmarket version of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, with different styling and higher levels of luxury and technology.
Both Maserati and Alfa Romeo are owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and the Grecale and Stelvio will built on the same factory in the south of Italy. Production of fuel-powered versions of the Maserati SUV begins next year, with the EV to follow at a later date.
The first of Maserati's parade of EVs will probably also arrive in 2021. One senior Maserati engineer promises it will be a Taycan-beater. "It's a great car," says Davide Danesin of Porsche's first-ever EV. "But we want to do more than them."
Danesin is chief engineer of the long-awaited replacement for the Maserati Gran Turismo, a sporty coupe with oodles of Italian flair. The fuel-burning version of the all-new Gran Turismo will appear first, to be followed by the EV.
To match the Taycan's advanced energy storage tech, the Gran Turismo EV will have a fast-charging 800-volt battery pack. Maserati promises DC fast-charging at up to 300kW, a rate that just beats the Porsche four-door coupe and way ahead of other EVs. Charging at such high power means battery top-ups in minutes.
"We are going to have one motor in front and two motors in the rear," adds Danesin, referring to the Gran Turismo. This will not only make the Maserati an e-AWD, but it will give the brand an edge over Porsche. The Taycan has only two electric motors.
This layout will also be adopted for the EV version of the sensational MC20 supercar Maserati recently unveiled, and the Gran Cabrio EV, the open-top sister of the Gran Turismo that will follow it into production.
Finally, when the existing Quattroporte limo and Levante SUV are replaced by all-new models, there also will be EV versions of these. All the new-Generation Maseratis, including the EVs, will be manufactured in Italy.
The Maserati EVs will be sub-branded Folgore, Italian for thunderbolt. Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have already adopted similar marketing tactics with their EVs.
"We have never doubted that electrified vehicles were the future of the industry," says Maserati CEO Davide Grasso recently. But news of the company's EV-reliant revival strategy came like a thunderbolt from the blue.
Originally published as Italian brand reveals Frankenstein plan