BY: Julian Rendell @ autocar.co.uk
Maserati has firmed up its radical plan to launch a battery-electric version of the two-seat Alfieri sportscar and has set a launch date of 2020 for the model.
Rumours of the electric sports car surfaced in the summer, but Maserati has now confirmed the pure-electric model as the second powertrain of the new Alfieri, to be launched a year after the twin-turbo petrol V6-engined sportscar makes its debut in 2019.
The Alfieri concept shown in 2014 was powered by a V8 and scheduled for production in 2016, but legislative pressure on emissions and fuel economy has made a V6 powertrain the favoured option.
By the time Maserati is ready to launch a compact two-seater, EU fleet average CO2 limits will be set at 95g/km.
Given the engineering and cost implications of packaging an electric drivertrain into a platform designed only for conventional engines, it is likely the Alfieri will become the first model to be spun off a new, electrically capable Maserati chassis.
Maserati’s current product and business plan runs to 2018 and will include replacements for the GranTurismo and GranCabrio, the last models to be replaced in its current product renewal programme.
Both the GranTurismo and GranCabrio replacements are understood to be based on the new rear-drive architecture that underpins the Ghibli, Levante and Quattroporte.
Both the coupé and cabrio will retain their 2+2 seating layouts, but the overall dimensions will be more compact than those of today’s models.
This will reduce weight and improve fuel economy and emissions, which will be further helped by a switch to a twin-turbo V6 petrol engine in place of today’s charismatic V8.
It will also reposition the GranTurismo away from its ‘two-door saloon’ billing, which currently has it overlapping with the mid-size Ghibli saloon.
More compact dimensions and a less roomy rear cabin will make the Turismo and Cabrio more complementary to the Ghibl.
Engineers can also tune the chassis for more entertaining steering and handling to more clearly position the 2+2 as the sportiest offering in the Maserati range.