Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have teased the possibility of a soon-to-be-announced offensive into the burgeoning electric vehicle market, namely to compete with EV upstart Tesla. And while CEO Sergio Marchionne hasn’t disclosed commitment to such a move, there have been signs pointing to an upcoming assault.
Bloomberg reports that Marchionne is indeed considering the Group’s first wade into the electric car market, using their brands such as Fiat and even Maserati to launch a two-fold release of initial EVs to establish themselves in the arena and among buyers.
During the TV interview, he told Bloomberg: "I've always thought the economic model that supports Tesla is something that Fiat Chrysler could replicate as we have the brand and the vehicles to do it. I think that to use one of our potential cars as an experiment in this area is interesting."
While a fully electric city car based on one of Fiat’s existing models isn’t too far to stretch the imagination, a zero emissions high-performance sports car based on the Maserati Alfieri concept shown at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show would is a very enticing prospect.
However, Marchionne has stated that whatever the Alfieri concept eventually morphs into en route to production, it isn’t due for release until after his retirement at the helm of FCA in 2019.
Pundits, however, are stressing how the currently perceived lackadaisical approach to electrification could hurt the Group as their rivals push ahead with more aggressive ambitions into hybrids and alternative propulsion technologies.
"I'm not as convinced as some others are about the fact that electrification is the solution for all of man's ills," said Marchionne. "We need to experiment as we are doing now with connected cars and mobility as electrification is one of the potential answers.”
Speaking of Maserati, FCA does have a promising inroad towards electrification in the form of a forthcoming hybrid variant of their Levante SUV which will compete with the Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport. Once that is followed up by more cars under FCA being at least partially electric, the logical jump to an all-electric sports car isn’t much of a leap.