If you are an established automaker and you are announcing an upcoming electric vehicle, especially if it’s in a premium segment, it is apparently an obligation to compare it to Tesla right away – even if it is years from coming to market.

That’s exactly what Roberto Fedeli, Maserati’s head of engineering, did when he confirmed that he will bring to market an all-electric vehicle around 2020. The engineer didn’t have kind words for the current electric vehicle leader.

During an interview with Car and Driver at the Paris Motor Show this week, Fedeli, who joined Fiat Chrysler Automobiles from BMW i earlier this year, confirmed that he is under orders from CEO Sergio Marchionne to bring to market a Maserati electric car as soon as possible.

Marchionne has made some controversial statements about electric vehicles in the past, including that he doesn’t understand how anyone can make money selling electric cars other than to comply with government mandates.

But now that most of Maserati’s competitors, including Audi, Mercedes, Aston Martin and Tesla, have all been working on lineups of all-electric vehicles, Fedeli’s new mandate is clear: “we need one too”.

Fedeli has been looking into what Tesla has to offer, but he says that he wouldn’t benchmark his non-existing vehicle against it:

“I don’t think that Tesla is the best product in the market but they are doing 50,000 cars a year. The execution and quality of the products of Tesla are the same as a German OEM in the 1970s. Their solutions are not the best.”

It looks like Maserati’s new head of engineering is following his boss in making controversial comments about Tesla.

He listed things like the acceleration only being good for 3 seconds, the sound, and the weight, as significant disadvantages for EVs. Instead of going against Tesla with a large sedan, Fedeli says that Maserati’s first all-electric car will be a “sleek grand-touring coupe”.

Don’t expect it to come anytime soon. The engineer says that they will be able to show the vehicle in the “next few years” and that it should go into production at the earliest in 2020.

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