Maserati Chief Says Tesla Ain't Seen Nothing Yet With EV Planned For 2019

Luxury automaker Maserati has avoided the whole electric vehicle (EV) craze that's been driving product design at its competitors, but not anymore. The mandate from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne is to build a Maserati EV as quickly as possible, so that's what engineering boss Roberto Fedeli is now focusing on, though he won't have anything ready before 2019.

"I think that we could show something before 2020. Maybe 2019," Fedeli told Car and Driver during an interview at the Paris auto show. "We are working to be ready with something that we can show during the next couple of years."

Maserati Quattroporte

Fedeli is well aware that Maserati will be last to market with an EV model, but he isn't concerned with that, nor is he intimidated by what Tesla is doing. While acknowledging that Tesla is kicking out some 50,000 EV cars a year, he compared the execution and quality of Tesla's products to that of a German OEM in the 1970s.

"Their solutions are not the best," Fedeli said.

Fedeli's strategy to compete with Tesla and other automakers such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz that are already producing EV models is to "arrive to market with something different. Very different." He didn't elaborate on what exactly he means by that, other than to say Maserati's first EV will be a specialized model produced in low volume. That means it will likely be more of a touring coup than a sports car.

Maserati Interior

Whatever it ends up being, it's critical that it feels like a Maserati. From Fedeli's perspective, today's EVs carry too much weight to make them fun to drive beyond the first few seconds of acceleration. That's a result of the batteries that have to be shoved inside. He also wants to make sure the engine has a nice sound to it.

Fedeli's goals add up to a tall order, but with at least three years between now and when he expects to have something ready, it's not likely that whatever Maserati ultimately releases will feel rushed to market.