Friday, September 22, 2023

Maserati unveils new lineup for luxury EVs, promises to go all-electric by 2030

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Italian luxury carmaker Maserati has announced an all-electric lineup of vehicles called Folgore, including a next-generation GranTurismo sports coupe, an electric version of its best-selling Levante, the all-new Grecale SUV and several other luxury sports cars and convertibles. The company said it would offer electric versions of all its models by 2025 and switch to selling only EVs by 2030.

In a press conference with reporters, Maserati CEO Davide Grasso said the automaker will also aim to completely phase out sales of its combustion engine vehicles by 2030, although that will depend on individual markets and customer demands.

“That’s the landing spot,” Grasso said of the 2030 target. “It will affect different parts of the world at a different kind of speed depending on how quickly the different markets will move towards a future of electrification, which is already upon us. “

With that timetable in mind, Maserati claims to be the “first luxury brand to complete its electric lineup by 2025”. To be sure, other luxury sports car brands, such as Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini, have announced their own electrification plans. (Porsche has already released its first model with the Taycan.) But the shift to electrification has been relatively slower among luxury carmakers, as most still place a premium on loud, grumbling V8s and V12s.

For years, Maserati was no different. The company has been rumbling about making an electric car for a while, but never really went ahead. This is likely due to the apathetic attitude of its parent company, Fiat Chrysler (now Stellantis), which, under the leadership of the late Sergio Marchionne, largely ignored EVs.

In 2019 Maserati changed course, announcement of a range of electric models, including battery-powered versions of its GranTurismo sports coupe and GranCabriolet convertible, as well as an undisclosed electric sports car and an electric SUV. Last year, Maserati announced a hybrid version of the Ghibli sedan, which will be sold only in Europe.

The hybrid Ghibli was released last year, but only in Europe.

Those plans are now coming into focus. The GranTurismo coupé will be the first EV to enter the Folgore family. The electric sports coupe will be produced at Maserati’s Mirafiori plant in Turin, Italy, which recently received a 700 million euro (about $807 million) upgrade to prepare it for electric vehicle production. The GranTurismo, which will use powertrain technology derived from Formula E, will hit the market in 2023.

Based on initial specs, the electric GranTurismo sounds like it’s going to be a powerful beast: “far more than” 1,200 horsepower; 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in just over 2 seconds; a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph). The vehicle will be made of lightweight material to increase speed. And three different electric motors will allow for “best in class” handling, Maserati said.

Later this month, Maserati will unveil a brand new EV, the Grecale SUV. Details are now scarce, but the vehicle is also expected to go on sale in 2023. Francesco Tonon, global head of product planning, said the Grecale “will set a benchmark in terms of range, performance, acceleration, charge time, top speed – everything.”

The rest of the Folgore range will be completed in the coming months, including the MC20 Spyder, a sister vehicle to the carmaker’s ultra-luxury sports car, the new Quattroporte four-door sports sedan and an electric version of the best-selling Levante SUV.

Like all sports car brands, Maserati will have to cope with the loss of noisy engines, one of its key features, when it switches to electric vehicles. Some automakers have added artificial sounds to explain the absence of a growling combustion engine, but Maserati said it won’t go the same way. “The Maserati sound isn’t fake,” Tonon said, “because we’re about authenticity.”

The company also confirmed plans to develop Level 3 autonomous technology for its Quattroporte sedan – meaning the vehicle will be able to drive itself, without human supervision, on certain roads, most likely highways.

“Someone might think that because it’s a driver’s car we don’t consider autonomous driving, but actually the opposite is the case,” Tonon says.

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