Newsflash: nieuwe Maserati Quattroporte wordt volledig elektrisch


+++ When Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Peugeot Citroën merged to create Stellantis, some of us had concerns about certain brands possibly facing extinction. ABARTH was certainly on that list, but the world’s fourth-largest automaker promised to retain all marques and invest in them for 10 years. Yes, that also includes Lancia and DS. Living up to its promise, Stellantis has spent money on Abarth for a performance version of the new Fiat 500. Following several sets of spy shots, Abarth took to social media to announce the premiere is scheduled for November 22. The news comes less than a week after the Italian company simplified its lineup of petrol-fuelled hot hatches for 2023 by introducing the 595 and 695 with Turismo or Competizione specifications with luxury and sporty personalities, respectively. Details about the battery-powered model are shrouded in mystery, but we’re anticipating a healthy boost over the Fiat 500 and its electric motor rated at 118 hp and 220 Nm. It remains to be seen whether it will become Abarth’s most powerful production car to date. Meanwhile, the 695 Biposto holds that title with its 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine dialled to 190 hp in a pint-sized car that weighs only 997 kilograms. The new electric Abarth will be much heavier considering the Fiat-badged EV tips the scales at a little over 1.400 kg. That curb weight is for the version equipped with the bigger 42-kWh battery pack the sporty electric derivative will likely use. The most recent spy shots suggested styling tweaks won’t be drastic but expect redesigned bumpers, different alloy wheels, and a bigger rear spoiler. A new logo is also in the pipeline, as are sporty seats with greater later support and other minor revisions inside the cabin. The amped-up version will obviously be substantially quicker than the Fiat 500, which takes 9 seconds to 100 km/h and is electronically governed to 150 km/h. Logic tells us bigger brakes and suspension upgrades are also in the pipeline along with chassis tuning to cope with the extra power of the electric motor delivered to the front axle. +++


+++ The headlines say Chevrolet has re-opened order books for the new CORVETTE Z06 after closing them in July. Those headlines should come with asterisks. What the small print explains (and should have always explained, even here) is that GM gatekeepers lowering the drawbridge means practically nothing for anyone who didn’t get on a dealer list a long time ago. When GM stopped taking orders in July, it stopped taking names off of dealer’s lengthy lists of reservation holders. The production process seems to be going better than planned, so “re-opening the order books” means GM has increased the number of cars it plans to build for the 2023 model year and has asked dealers to submit more names for orders to fulfill. A GM spokesperson told: “We had previously shared with dealers and the public that we had accepted enough Z06 orders to fill the number of Z06 production slots we had for calendar year 2022, so we stopped elevating dealer orders to accepted orders that the plant would build. Now we are saying we’re going to accept more dealer orders to continue filling the pipeline of Z06 production through the end of model year 2023”. I don’t have any details to explain any of this nor put it in context. GM didn’t reveal its initial production estimate, and it hasn’t said how many orders it will add to the previous mysterious number. It was thought GM’s conservative production window had to do with a supply constraint, but even that’s not clear. We don’t know how many reservations there are, either, although there are more than 100 dealers and just 8 of them have easily more than 6.000 reservations combined. One dealer would only say its reservation list was “out to 2025”. GM built 39.940 of the last generation Z06 from 2014 to 2019, averaging a touch under 8.000 units per year. Dealers know this, so for one to say they’re booked until 2025, the order rolls must be relatively staggering. There’s no reason for dealers to be in a hurry to get cars built, either, with some charging anywhere from $35,000 to $100,000 over the base ($106,395) per vehicle according to posters. As for verified production, 41 customer Z06 orders have been built as of the end of October, 22 of them the 70th Anniversary Editions. On top of that, it’s said 216 units of the Z06s have been built for GM’s Captured Test Fleet used for proving and data capture. The first customer deliveries have been made, including Rick Henderson acquiring the first one off the line, a Carbon Flash 70th Anniversary Edition he bought for $3.6 million at a charity auction in January of this year. +++

+++ A rumor out of Japan says that HONDA is planning an electric coupe. The car is reportedly scheduled for a 2028 introduction, and is one of several EV models the company is planning for the next several years. The crop would allegedly include several crossovers, as well as an NSX-type electric flagship. Back in April, Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe outlined an “EV roadmap” promising 30 electric models by 2030. Not all of them would be sold in North America. Ranging from commercial kei vehicles to supercars, Honda hopes to produce around 2 million EVs annually by the end of the decade. Buried in that plan was this little nugget: “We are currently exploring the global introduction of two sports models, specialty and flagship models”, Mibe said. In Japan, “specialty car” is a term that can include stylish coupes like the Toyota Celica or Mazda MX-6. This led Japanese media to interpret the car as a Prelude successor when reporting on the 2028 introduction. Furthermore, the flagship EV will utilize solid-state batteries, which are lighter and more energy-dense than current EV battery technology. They’re calling this car the NSX and predicts it will go head-to-head against the next-generation R36 Nissan GT-R. Honda, for its part, is saying solid-state batteries will begin to appear in Honda EVs starting in the latter half of the 2020s. The company is also working on two in-house EV platforms, one for compacts and one for large vehicles. The Prelude was introduced to the Dutch market in 1979, evolving through 5 generations before its discontinuation at the end of the 2001 model year. It remained a beloved sport coupe during that time and continued to advance into, by its final iteration, one of the finest-handling and best-balanced front-wheel-drive cars ever built. Mibe has said that the electric sports cars “will inherit the ‘joy of driving’ and embody Honda’s inalterable sports mindset and distinctive characteristics”. If so, we’d welcome an EV that can reproduce the Prelude’s preternatural connection to the road. +++

+++ Porsche isn’t the only Volkswagen brand that has been quietly preparing for a potential initial public offering. Italian luxury-car maker LAMBORGHINI has been developing a strategy how to present itself to stock-market investors since well before Volkswagen asked each of its brands to come up with virtual equity stories, according to the unit’s chief executive officer Stephan Winkelmann. “We’ve been working on this with other agencies in order to create clarity”, Winkelmann said. “As a brand, we’ve done so for a long time, to show what worth, what value we have. Up until a little while ago, it wasn’t so well known”. Porsche became Europe’s most valuable automaker last month, when its market capitalization overtook that of VW a week after its IPO in Frankfurt. The debut of the 911 maker was a bold move into public markets, which have been largely shut for most of the year. Volkswagen CEO Oliver Blume has said he sees the listing as a blueprint to unlock more value from the group’s brands that also include Audi and Bentley. “An IPO drill is exactly what you do to show the public how solid you are and what is in progress for the future”, Winkelmann said. “We have a clear story and strategy for that”. Audi, which oversees VW’s premium brands, said last month there are no concrete plans for an IPO of Lamborghini. A previous push to potentially spin off the carmaker and motorcycle brand Ducati ran into opposition from labor leaders. Still, Lamborghini’s recent profit gains (including a 31.9% operating margin in the first half of this year) make a solid case for a stock-market listing, said Michael Dean, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “An IPO is something that could potentially happen in the next 18 months, depending on market conditions”, Dean said. “A €15 billion valuation is entirely justifiable and could be even higher, given the margin metrics”. Lamborghini’s deliveries rose 8% to 7.430 vehicles in the first 9 months of the year. Operating profit climbed 69% to €570 million ($567 million). +++

+++ The all-new MASERATI Quattroporte will arrive in 2024, becoming the only saloon sold by the brand within a streamlined line-up. Adopting Maserati’s Folgore suffix (Italian for ‘lightning’), it will return as a zero-emissions 4-door grand tourer, sitting between the Levante (which will also go electric-only for its second generation in 2025) and the newly unveiled GranTurismo coupé, Maserati’s first foray into the EV world. The new Quattroporte will be the Italian firm’s sole saloon as production of the smaller Ghibli will end in 2024. Maserati wants to position the Quattroporte to straddle the luxury and executive saloon segments, despite their wide-reaching price differences. This means the brand will look to attract people driving the likes of both the Mercedes-Benz EQS and the BMW i7 who want even more exclusivity. This point was backed up by Maserati’s head of global product, Massimo Capaldi, who told that he expects Folgore models to attract a new type of customer to the brand. “With the EV, everything is changing. The segments are crossing [over] each other”, he said. The Quattroporte will be based on the new Maserati built underpinnings of the GranTurismo (which will also be used for all future Folgore models and the brand’s final combustion-engined cars). It has been designed for optimal weight distribution, with the battery placed in a T-shape low and along the centre of the chassis. Power levels are expected to be less than from the 760 hp, 1.300 Nm Granturismo Folgore (which is also equipped with a 93 kWh battery), given that the coupé has sportier credentials. The new Quattroporte’s positioning also indicates a target price of about €200.000 in the Netherlands, especially given that it will be sold in electric form only (the Granturismo Folgore will command about €265.000). When it arrives, the saloon will be accompanied by electric variants of Maserati’s flagship MC20 supercar and entry-level Grecale to complete the brand’s ambitious new line-up. +++

+++ Global passenger PLUG-IN ELECTRIC CAR sales reached a new all-time record level in September, for the very first time exceeding 1 million registrations. Some 1.040.289 new passenger plug-in electric cars were registered in September. That’s 51% more than a year ago and up to 17% of the total car market. The market share of all-electric cars improved to 13%, which means that plug-in hybrids are responsible for about 4%. PHEVs noted a slightly higher growth rate than BEVs, but that’s only because of China, where they are growing very quickly (outside of China, PHEVs are down for the seventh consecutive month). BEVs sold about 795.000 units (up 50% year-over-year) and had a 13% marketshare. PHEVs did about 245,000 units (up 54% year-over-year) and had a 4% share. So far this year, more than 6.815.282 million new passenger plug-in electric cars were registered globally 13 % marketshare), which opens the way to exceed 10 million units in 2022 (for the very first time). BEVs sold year-to-date about 4.9 million and had a 9.3% share. PHEVs did about 1.9 million and had 3.7% marketshare. For reference, in the 12 months of 2021, some 6.5 million plug-in electric cars were sold.


In September, the Tesla Model Y set a very bold sales record with 113.307 units registered globally. That’s the first-ever 6-digit result for an electric car and, at the same time, the Model Y became the topselling model overall globally (ahead of the Toyota RAV4 with 90% certainty). The Tesla Model 3 was second at 68.710 sales, with a big advantage over the BYD Song (BEVs and PHEVs counted together = 45,966 sales). Next came the Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV (37.418 sales), the BYD Qin Plus (BEV + PHEV = 36.061), the BYD Han (BEV + PHEV+ 31.323), the BYD Dolphin (24.956), the BYD Yuan Plus (BEV: 23.561), the Volkswagen ID.4 (15.305), the BYD Tang (BEV + PHEV = 15.251). After 9 months of 2022, two Tesla models are at the top, as the Model 3 regained the second position. While the Tesla Model Y appears to be out of range for any other plug-in model, the race for the second place is still open, especially since the Model 3 is up only 1% year-over-year. The top 20 list is dominated by Chinese manufacturers, as only 5 models are from non-Chinese brands. The top 20 by the end of September consists of:  1. Tesla Model Y (522.654), 2. Tesla Model 3 (336.865), 3. Wuling Hong Guang Mini EV (316.256), 4. BYD Song Plus (BEV + PHEV = 285.705), 5. BYD Qin Plus (BEV + PHEV = 234.387), 6. BYD Han (BEV + PHEV = 179.836), 7. BYD Dolphin (127.589), 8. BYD Yuan Plus (116.509), 9. Volkswagen ID.4 (115.177), 10. BYD Tang (BEV + PHEV = 94.520), 11. GAC Aion Y (81.201), 12. Chery QQ Ice Cream (80.744), 13. Chery eQ1 (77.441), 14. Li Xiang One EREV (76.805), 15. Hyundai Ioniq 5 (75.367), 16. GAC Aion S (72.000), 17. Hozon Neta V (71.572), 18. Changan Benni EV (70.904), 19. Kia EV6 (61.374) and 20. Great Wall Ora Good Cat (56.405).


In September, BYD sold 200.959 plug-in electric cars (including 94.941 BEVs), which is more than Tesla (190.208) at its peak month. Interesting is also that the SAIC-GM-Wuling (42.867) once again sold more plug-in cars than Volkswagen (36.022). The rest of the top 10 for the month September consists of Geely (30.318), GAC (30.070), Mercedes-Benz (29.486), BMW (29.066), Changan (25.749) and Chery (21.241). +++

+++ Extreme fast charge battery tech company StoreDot says that mass-produced SOLID STATE BATTERIES are at least 10 years away from mass production. The Israel-based startup believes global automakers should be considering interim technologies in the medium term, such as semi-solid batteries. While solid state batteries promise cost-effective fast and safe charging batteries, as well as high energy densities, StoreDot argues that they remain a work in progress and still face significant challenges before they can be manufactured at scale. “It’s crucial that leading battery developers like StoreDot give global automotive manufacturers a realistic and hype-free roadmap for the introduction of extreme fast-charging battery technologies. Right now, despite some of the bullish claims by our rivals, all-solid-state batteries are still at least 10 years away. They are certainly no silver bullet for any vehicle maker currently developing fast charging electric vehicle architectures”, Doron Meyersdorf, CEO of StoreDot said. The executive believes a more practical step is the introduction of semi-solid-state batteries, which StoreDot is targeting for mass production by 2028. Meyersdorf says these will be advanced, safe, high performing cells that can achieve 160 kilometres of charge in just 3 minutes. Furthermore, they have the additional benefit of requiring a simpler and less challenging manufacturing process than all solid state technologies. Solid state batteries use solid electrolytes instead of the liquid or polymer gel electrolytes found in current technologies such as lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries. It is a bit surprising to hear that solid state batteries are still a relatively distant prospect, especially from a company that has promoted this technology intensively in recent years. StoreDot has attracted investments from Volvo, Polestar, VinFast and Daimler Trucks so far; its manufacturing partner is EVE Energy. In March 2022, the company revealed its “100inX” strategic technology roadmap that included three generations of StoreDot technologies of silicon-dominant XFC (160 km in 5 minutes of charging), semi solid state (160 km in 3 minutes) and all solid state (160 km in 2 minutes). At the time, StoreDot said the ‘100 in 5’ tech would arrive by 2024, 100in3 by 2028 and 100in2 by 2032. +++

+++ STELLANTIS has reportedly offered buyouts to some of its employees in the United States. The corporate movement came in preparation for the company’s foray into the EV era, trimming down and realigning its workforce in the process. The parent company of Jeep, Chrysler, Ram and Dodge currently has 13.000 salaried jobs in the US, but not all of which were offered to voluntarily quit. Employees at least 55 years old, have been with the company for 10 years or have 30 years of service, and have a pension are eligible for the buyout. They were notified recently and have until December 5 to decide on the offer. A Stellantis spokesperson confirmed the movement to CNBC but did not disclose how many employees got the offer. “As part of our transformation to become a sustainable tech mobility company and the market leader in low-emission vehicles, in October we offered certain salaried US employees the option to voluntarily separate from the company with a favourable package of benefits that otherwise would not be available to them”, the spokesperson told. Both Dodge and Jeep are getting deep into electrification as part of Stellantis’ updated product roadmap revealed in February of this year. Even truckmaker Ram is on its way to electrifying its products, revealing the Ram 1500 Revolution BEV Concept on January 5, 2022. The reported corporate movement by Stellantis is similar to what Ford announced in August, cutting down 3.000 jobs in the US, Canada, and India. Roughly 2.000 salaried workers were affected, while the other 1.000 are agency positions as part of Ford’s restructuring plan to make the Blue Oval more competitive in the automotive market. Meanwhile, General Motors hasn’t offered a similar package to its salaried employees this year, though the company has been doing so in the past years. +++

Reageren is niet mogelijk.