FCA broadening of EV strategy starting to come to Europe

01 June 2017

01 June 2017 With FCA (Fiat Chrysler) CEO Sergio Marchionne launching earlier this month the broadening of FCA’s electric vehicle (EV) strategy in America, including electrifying the Jeep range and the success of the Chrysler Pacifica minivan used by Waymo for its driverless cars, it was widely expected that this electric powertrain development would lead to the electric strategy being spread group-wide. This Pacifica hybrid technology will now be making its way to Europe, with FCA’s Maserati set to use the technology in a new plug-in hybrid version of its Levante SUV. However, FCA’s caution with electric vehicles continues, with Maserati only expecting sales of the plug-in hybrid version to make up 10% of all Levante sales. FCA is also keen to stress that the Levante hybrid will not drive like a minivan. Maserati overseas market director Umberto Cini told Car Advice: ′If it will be a Maserati ″†Maserati means many things. One of these things is the pleasure of driving. If we can deliver with hybrid technology or electric technology the same feeling that you can deliver with the current product range, why not [include it in the range].’ The Levante hybrid will still share platforms with Maserati’s Ghibli and Quattroporte models, so it will still drive similarly to other cars in its range. The launch of the Levante hybrid suggests hybrid electrification options will eventually extend to the Ghibli and Quattroporte as well. The Levante’s powertrain is likely to vary little from the electronically variable transmission with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine seen in the Pacifica, and using a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack as well. This is in part since the Pacifica’s electronically variable transmission system design also functions as housing for the electric motor. The Levante SUV plug-in hybrid will launch into direct competition from the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, which also has an electric drive system with a 3.0-litre V6, making in total 416 horsepower. Its all-electric range of around 14 miles is also similar to the expected all-electric range of the Levante hybrid. Photograph courtesy of FCA