At the 2014 Beijing auto show, Bentley presented a Mulsanne concept car that was powered by a plug-in hybrid system.
“Adding performance and efficiency with no compromise to luxury, plug-in hybrids are an important part of Bentley’s exciting future,” former Bentley CEO Wolfgang Schreiber said at the time.
The technology will first appear in the Bentayga, most likely in 2018. It will then make its way into the next-generation Continental GT and eventually the rest of Bentley’s lineup. The information was confirmed by current CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer on Tuesday at the 2017 Automotive News World Congress held in Detroit.
“You will understand if I don’t reveal our entire future product plan here today, but I can say that we are eager to introduce plug-in hybrid technology across all model lines in the next few years,” Dürheimer is quoted as saying by Autocar.
Bentley Mulsanne Hybrid Concept, 2014 Beijing Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
Bentley is yet to reveal full details on its production-spec plug-in hybrid system, but we know that it will involve the integration of an electric motor-generator with the transmission.
Three separate driving modes should be available to drivers: electric-only, gas-only, and combined hybrid.
An onboard lithium-ion battery will power the electric motor and be chargeable at home using a normal power outlet or on the road with brake energy recovery.
In the Mulsanne concept, the stock twin-turbo V-8 was still present, but Bentley has previously suggested that its plug-in hybrid system will utilize a V-6 engine for its internal combustion component. Power is expected to be on par with Bentley’s V-8, Dürheimer said, meaning an output of around 500 horsepower.
During his presentation on Tuesday, Dürheimer explained that plug-in hybrid technology was ideal for Bentley as it allows zero-emission driving around town—which may soon become a necessity in some major cities—but without the drawback of having to stop and charge up on long drives like electric cars.
Self-driving capability was another technology Dürheimer frowned upon. “Technology in isolation is cold and can never be truly luxurious,” he explained. “We must never lose the human touch.”