Roberto Fedeli, head of engineering at Italian automaker Maserati, is under orders from parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to deliver a battery electric car as soon as possible.
During a conversation with Car and Driver at the recent Paris Motor Show, Fedeli confirmed the poste-haste timeline.
“I think that we could show something before 2020,” he said. “Maybe 2019.”
By the time the Maserati EV debuts, there will most likely be production electric entries in the premium luxury segment from Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and perhaps a new model from Tesla.
“We will be last (with a production EV), and we have to arrive to the market with something different.” Fedeli said, then added, “Very different,”
The challenge for Maserati, which prides itself on a sporty driving experience and its signature engine note, is engineering an EV that lacks the engine sound “one of our most important parameters,” and dealing with the sheer weight of batteries.
Part of the solution to engineering a best-in-class EV is to make it feel link a Maserati, Fedeli said. “Acceleration for three seconds, maximum, and that’s all the emotion that is found. After that there is nothing,”
Car and Driver said the first EV model would be specialized and low volume, and expect it to be “more of a sleek grand-touring coupe” rather than making it a Tesla Model S copy cat.
“A Tesla fighter probably [is] not a good idea,” Fedeli said, and then added, “I don’t think that Tesla is the best product in the market but they are doing 50,000 cars a year. The execution and quality of the products of Tesla are the same as a German OEM in the 1970s. Their solutions are not the best.”
Ultimately, Fedeli wants to create a car that is not only green and efficient, but also has the signature Maserati sports car feel.
Consistency, Fedeli said, is absolutely key, and “needs to be solved” come 2020.