Maserati may lead the charge for Chrysler's electrification efforts

maserati electrified 2019 emblem
Andrew Prayogo/Flickr
Following Volvo’s announcement that it will launch only electrified vehicles beginning in 2019, another premium automaker is reportedly considering a similar move. But this one — Maserati — may be a little more surprising.

Maserati is known for fast cars powered by big, loud engines, so its embrace of quiet electric power would be a major course change for the brand. But Sergio Marchionne, boss of Maserati parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, told Auto Express that Maserati may become completely electrified after 2019, leading the charge (pun intended) for a major FCA plug-in hybrid push.

“When it [Maserati] completes the development of its next two models, it will effectively switch all of its portfolio to electrification,” Marchionne said. Like Volvo, Maserati has the advantage of a small lineup, making the electrification effort more manageable. Volvo has said its electrification push will include mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and all-electric models, and it’s likely that Maserati will implement a similar mix of powertrains.

That means Maserati’s electrified lineup could include mild hybrids with very little electric assist, which would have a similar feel to regular internal-combustion cars. It’s also likely that Maserati will rely heavily on plug-in hybrids, possibly borrowing knowhow from corporate cousin Chrysler’s Pacifica Hybrid plug-in minivan. That would help Maserati compete with plug-in hybrids from German luxury brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche.

As an Italian luxury brand known for emphasizing performance and passion rather than efficiency, electrification would be an unusual move for Maserati. But it would also be unusual for its parent company, which has shied away from electrified vehicles. CEO Marchionne has been a vocal critic of electric cars, and FCA has adopted hybrid powertrains at a much slower rate than its competitors.

Yet Maserati is in need of a bold move. The automaker is more or less staking its future on the recently introduced Levante SUV, hoping to ride the wave of SUV popularity. Maserati is asking the Levante to do a lot of heavy lifting though, as the rest of its lineup is aging. The Ghibli and Quattroporte sedans were part of a push to make Maserati more mainstream that didn’t really work out. The GranTurismo coupe and GranCabrio convertible are based on designs that date back to 2007, making them ancient by industry standards.

Maserati needs a shakeup. Electrification is certainly relevant in an age of tightening emissions standards and concern over climate change, so it’s as good a plan as any. But Maserati must implement it without sacrificing its core character.


Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.

Boutique carmaker Karma Automotive, legendary design firm Pininfarina team up

Karma Automotive is partnering with legendary Italian design firm Pininfarina on future luxury cars. The first product of that partnership will appear later this year, Karma said, without offering other details.

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Michigan OKs digital license plates with Rplate’s connected car platform

The state of Michigan approved the use of digital license plates on motor vehicles registered in the state. Reviver Auto, the manufacturer of the Rplate connected car platform, worked with Michigan's Department of State to pass the bill.

This Chevy Silverado pickup truck is made from more than 300,000 Lego bricks

To promote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Lego and Chevrolet teamed up on a life-size replica of the automaker's Silverado pickup truck made from more than 300,000 plastic bricks.

Prices for using Tesla Supercharging just skyrocketed

Tesla is updating their Supercharging pricing based on local electricity rates and customer demand, which has lead to an increase in charging costs by as much as 33 percent in some regions.

Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…

Is Uber planning to put its self-driving tech into bikes and scooters?

Uber reportedly has its eye on building autonomous electric bikes and scooters that ride to a user when summoned by an app. The technology could also be used to make its two-wheelers safer with obstacle avoidance systems.

Someone just paid supercar money for the very first 2020 Toyota Supra

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.

Lincoln’s stately, limited-edition flagship sedan sells out in a month

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.