Fiat Chrysler bets on electrification for Alfa, Jeep and Maserati


Maserati will launch an electrified Alfieri, pictured as a concept at the 2014 Paris auto show.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Friday unveiled plans to offer electrified versions across its entire Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Jeep lineups at a presentation of the 2018-22 business plan, showing a significant shift for a company that is a latecomer to the technology.

“The challenge for leaders of this industry is to find a balance point between the use of technology that responds to consumers’ needs, in such a way to avoid wasting capital,” CEO Sergio Marchionne said at the presentation.

In the past, FCA management has said that automakers lose money producing electric vehicles, which are also expensive for consumers. But Marchionne and other FCA executives on Friday acknowledged that this technological change is crucial for the industry’s future. And Jeep and Maserati executives said a shift to electrification may not be too damaging to margins because of the strength of their brands.

FCA plans to invest $10.5 billion (9 billion euros) by 2022 in hybrid and electric technology and phase out diesels for Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Jeep.

Going electric

— Maserati will launch four full-electric versions of its models and eight plug-in hybrids
— Jeep will offer four full-electric vehicles and 10 plug-in hybrids
— Alfa Romeo plans six plug-in hybrids.

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Maserati will launch four full-electric versions of its models and eight plug-in hybrids. The brand is adding the Alfieri sports car as a halo model and a midsize SUV that will sit below its Levante.

The Alfieri will have three powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid and an all-electric version using a three-motor, all-wheel drive system offering torque vectoring. It will feature 800-volt battery technology.

“From a portfolio standpoint, it may look like Maserati is targeting Porsche. It may look like we are targeting Tesla,” said Tim Kuniskis, Maserati and Alfa brand manager.

The Alfieri will have top speed exceeding 186 mph and an acceleration from zero to 100 kph (62 mph) in less than two seconds. By comparison, Tesla’s Model S P100D in its fastest ‘Ludicrous’ mode manages that sprint in just over 2 seconds.

Maserati will get a hand with its new electrified powertrains from Ferrari, Kuniskis said.

Alfa electrifies

Alfa Romeo plans six plug-in hybrid electric vehicles across its range. “Our plug-ins will offer over 50 kilometers (31 miles) range and achieve a 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) speed in the mid-4-second range,” Kuniskis said.

The brand will also introduce e-booster technology which it says will make its cars 25 percent more powerful with zero turbo lag.

Alfa is adding the 700-hp 8C supercar to its lineup, along with the 600-hp GTV sports car.

Jeep’s EVs

For Jeep, electrification options will be available across each nameplate by 2021, said Mike Manley, head of the brand. Jeep will offer four full-electric vehicles and 10 plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2022.

Jeep also plans to launch a new A-segment “city” Jeep with an electrified powertrain.

“Compliance will drive higher levels (of electrification),” Manley said. “But what’s important is what happens to margin. The market is not paying for this quality, not even close. That will change. But for now, electrification will be margin-dilutive for most OEMs.

“I think Jeep has scope to add value here beyond most OEMS, and our customers will be willing to pay for it. And I think we will be in the position to recoup more margin than the market average.”

Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report


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