ELECTRIC and hybrid cars have been unplugged from Maserati’s future as it maintains a staunchly conservative line.
Maserati boss Harald Wester, talking to Carsguide at the Shanghai motor show where he unveiled the new Ghibli saloon, briskly dismissed the company badge being applied to the future technology.
‘‘Hybrids are wonderful,’’ says a sarcastic Wester.
‘‘I can see no other reason for hybrids or electric cars other than being forced by government policy.
‘‘I don’t see hybrids as a business — we have better technology.’’
Wester points to diesel and CNG (compressed natural gas) as viable, energyefficient and cost-effective current technologies, though refused to say if Maserati would start applying them to its cars.
‘‘These (diesel and CNG) are proper he says.
‘‘CNG because — legal restrictions aside — it is a viable alternative to hybrids.
‘‘I see very good potential in the US.
The legal restrictions involve making CNG safer as a passenger car fuel. It has been blamed for isolated engine-bay fires, including three in public transport buses in the past year in Perth.
Wester continues to deride electric power, saying it requires excessive energy to produce the cars and the electricity.
‘‘It’s nonsense to talk about electric cars,’’ he says.‘‘We have to be more honest about a real substitute for sustainability.
‘‘Electric cars are not the answer— not for the US, not for Europe and not for China.’’
Wester says it requires 180 grams of CO2 per km equivalent to manufacture an electric car, on par with many compact cars, but the assumption that driving the car produces neutral emissions was a misconception.
‘‘A full-electric car, assuming 13kW/hour of power, uses 86g/km CO2 in Europe,’’ he says. ‘‘In the US it is 110g/km and in China it is 191g/km CO2.’’
By comparison, the average petrol-fuelled small car releases 180g/km CO2.
The emission figures are based on how the electricity is produced, showing that China’s predominantly coal-fired power stations produce higher emissions than in Europe which has many emission-free nuclear power stations.
But while Wester says electric and hybrid power won’t be used by Maserati, at least not in the near future, he admits the company can lower its emission footprint by drawing on the fleet average of its Fiat Group parent which is the lowest emitter of CO2 among Europe’s vehicle manufacturers.
The new Maserati Ghibli saloon. Don’t expect it to be converted to electric or a hybrid any time soon with the company’s boss saying the technology doesn’t stack up