When the 2024 Maserati GranTurismo Folgore launches next fall, consumers may notice that Formula E motorsport TBEN runs through the automaker’s first EV.
In January, Maserati will become the first Italian team to compete in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship as the series enters its ninth season in Mexico City. The series serves as a testbed for manufacturers to experiment with the technology, including power management, thermal management and battery design, that will eventually trickle down to their passenger cars. Like others, Maserati is taking what it learned developing an electric race car and integrating it into its passenger EV.
Maserati’s first EV, the GranTurismo Folgore, is expected to arrive next summer with a sticker price of less than $200,000, paving the way for the Italian luxury sports car maker to go all-electric by the end of the decade. Two V6-powered versions of the GranTurismo will hit showrooms this spring.
The brand will add an all-electric Grecale SUV and Gran Cabrio GT to its Folgore (“Thunderbolt”) lineup next year, with battery-electric versions of Maserati’s MC20 Spyder, Levante SUV and Quattroporte sedan expected to follow mid-decade. .
Where will this Formula E technology show up? The company is drawing lessons (and technology) from at least three areas of its Formula E race car and integrating them into the Folgore.
The GranTurismo Folgore EV’s T-bone battery pack allowed engineers to move the driver’s seat closer to the ground for better handling and aerodynamics.
The powertrain architecture positions the battery modules around the central body, rather than under the seats as in a typical EV, to create one of the lowest seating positions for an electric passenger car. The lower center of gravity and 50:50 weight distribution help the driver change direction at higher speeds.
The GranTurismo Folgore gets its energy from a 92.5 kWh battery and three 300 kW motors – one in the front, two in the rear. But the car’s inverter, an important part of a car’s electrical system that converts direct current to alternating current, affects how the driver perceives the car’s 760 horsepower.
The engines use silicon carbide-based inverter technology derived from Formula E, a first in a production car. These inverters offer a higher power density than traditional inverters, while cooling the battery more efficiently.
Power management is crucial in Formula E. Teams are not allowed to change batteries during the race, so the cars must be able to go up to 200 mph for 45 minutes on a single charge.
Motivated by the demands of the more powerful Gen 3 car that will enter the series next year, Maserati’s 800-volt EV charging architecture is designed to add 270 kilowatt hours of DC fast charging, which equates to 60 miles in five minutes.
A successful performance in Formula E next year could see the GranTurismo Fologre and, by extension, the rest of Maserati’s EV lineup. We’ll be tuning in next year to see if the brand can claim a “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” victory.