“Don’t forget to plug the Bentley in, Jeeves. Petrol is ever so dear these days.”
The 93-year-old British luxury brand is not the first carmaker that comes to mind in connection with cutting-edge electric vehicles. However, like every other auto manufacturer, Bentley has been researching electrification for some time, and now it plans, ever so slowly and deliberately, to bring the new technology to the production line.
Bentley’s Falcon SUV, expected to arrive in late 2015 or early 2016, will incorporate hybrid technology (perhaps plug-in), and the rest of the company’s range will follow eventually.
Bentley Chairman and Chief Executive, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, said, “The SUV will be the first Bentley hybrid because it’s based on a new platform with new technology. You need space for batteries and the technology, so we probably won’t do that for existing models. We will see hybrid versions of all of our cars, though.”
Schreiber told Auto Express that the 4×4 Falcon will “very likely be a plug-in,” probably using similar tech to that in the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid.
“Bentley is in a good position as part of the VW group,” said Schreiber. “With technology like hybrids you need lots of investment. Smaller companies will struggle, so it’s a good opportunity for Bentley to use synergies from the VW group. For example, batteries can be used across numerous models.”
The rest of Bentley’s saloon, coupé and convertible range will eventually have hybrid versions as well, but not until the models are due for replacement.