Most of the major luxury makes are racing to launch new electric cars to rival the offerings of Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] as well as place themselves in readiness for increasingly stricter emissions regulations coming down the line.
BMW has its i sub-brand and Mercedes-Benz has confirmed plans to launch four electric cars by the end of the decade. The Volkswagen Group meanwhile has committed to launching more than 30 electric cars between now and 2025.
Despite the recent moves of rivals, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] appears to be uninterested in committing to volume production of electric cars. Instead the company is more likely to continue to “experiment” with niche models like the current Fiat 500e, which FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has even stated was only launched to comply with California’s zero-emission vehicle rules.
“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,” Marchionne told Bloomberg on Saturday. “I think that to use one of our potential cars as an experiment in this area is interesting.”
Also in his interview, Marchionne mentioned a new Maserati sports car based on 2014’s Alfieri concept car as well as a new city car as potential options for receiving an electric drivetrain. He also pointed out that connected cars and new mobility solutions were just as important as electric cars in solving what he described as “man’s ills.” Recall, FCA is building 100 Chrysler Pacificas fitted with autonomous technology for Google’s Self-Driving Car Project.
Unfortunately, Marchionne said any electric car sports car for Maserati won’t come until after he retires as CEO of FCA in 2019. In the meantime FCA will focus on hybrid technology to get the average emissions of its fleet down. The Pacifica has already been fitted with the automaker’s next-generation plug-in hybrid tech, and more models including Maserati’s new Levante will get similar systems.