2017 Bentley BentaygaEnlarge Photo
Next year will see the launch of Bentley’s first hybrid, a gasoline-electric version of the Bentayga SUV, but the British automaker best known for its ultra-luxurious, high-performance cars is already looking at an all-electric car. The information was confirmed to Drive by Bentley chief engineer Rolf Frech.
“I think there will be an answer within the next six months to a year to decide which direction we will go,” Frech said when asked about an electric Bentley. “But of course electric will be a future strategy direction for Bentley.”
This is in stark contrast to the position of arch rival Rolls-Royce, which has ruled out electric cars due to a lack of interest from customers.
Being part of the Volkswagen Group, which is still suffering from its diesel emissions scandal, it’s clear Bentley along with other brands of the group have an incentive to move towards zero-emission vehicles. And with the VW Group heavily investing in electric car technology, Bentley will benefit from the latest developments.
Porsche Mission E concept electric carEnlarge Photo
In his interview with Drive, Frech used last year's Porsche’s Mission E concept as an example of technology Bentley could borrow. Porsche has confirmed it will launch an electric car based on the Mission E concept. The car, now thought to be a coupe as opposed to a sedan, is expected to arrive towards the end of the decade with output of around 600 horsepower and 15-minute charging for 200 miles of range.
"We not only have the ability to use the [Mission E] platform but we can also use a lot of these modules to bring into our car,” Frech explained.
Before any electric Bentley arrives, however, expect each model in the Bentley lineup to offer a plug-in hybrid option once it undergoes a redesign. Bentley’s next all-new model is expected to be a next-generation Continental GT. Note, despite the scandal of its parent company, Bentley remains committed to adding a diesel model to its lineup.