Bentley wants an electric car but is in no rush to launch one, as company CEO Adrian Hallmark deems current battery technology to be lacking when it comes to range. As a result, we probably won't see an electric Bentley on sale until the middle of the decade.
That gives plenty of time for Bentley to decide what form its first EV will take. While there have been rumors the EV might be a replacement for the Mulsanne which bows out of production in the coming weeks, Hallmark has said the EV is Bentley's next major model launch and then only will the company launch the Mulsanne's replacement—which he hinted might be an SUV.
As for the EV, Hallmark told Autocar in an interview published Tuesday that the vehicle would need to sit higher to accommodate a large battery in the floor but also be aerodynamically shaped to support a minimum range of 300-350 miles. He hinted at one solution being close to the Jaguar I-Pace, but more extreme, according to Autocar.
Solid-state batteries would allow Bentley to go a more traditional route, as a smaller battery would be required to meet the same range as a bigger lithium-ion unit. But according to Hallmark, the technology is unlikely to be ready for primetime until closer to the end of the decade and as a result Bentley will stick with lithium-ion tech for its first EV.
The news comes as Bentley's team in Crewe, United Kingdom, assembles the last examples of the Mulsanne and the legendary L-series V-8 engine that powers the flagship. Over 7,300 examples have been built since the car was launched a decade ago, each requiring over 400 hours of meticulous detail.