British luxury carmaker Bentley is planning electrified versions of its stable of upscale motor cars but is only considering one all-electric model, Bentley’s head engineer Dr Werner Tietz has said.
While the brand appreciates that zero emissions transport is an absolute necessity for cities, it defends its preference for hybrids over full electrics by arguing that it doesn’t want to compromise performance out on the open road.
The comments made to Australian Business Traveller this week indicate that Bentley may not have got the memo on the sheer power and instant torque offered by many pure electric cars made by brands such as Tesla, Jaguar and Porsche.
“Our target by 2025 is to have at least one electrified version in every model line,” Tietz said. “We are well on the way to plug-in hybrid. We think it is the best solution for Bentley at the moment, with emission-free driving in towns and still performance outside the cities.”
Travelling to Australia to celebrate a new racing program to capture a younger market, the head of engineering confirmed that while Bentley is mainly planning plug-in hybrids, there is one pure electric option on the drawing board.
“We are thinking about introducing one model which is completely electric,” Tietz said.
The all-electric model will bring Bentley more in line with fellow luxury carmakers Jaguar (which already has the i-Pace on sale in Australia) and Porsche (which will be introducing the Taycan in Australia in 2020).
However, it won’t follow the oversize, prestige styling of Bentley’s current models – Tietz says it will be a luxury city runabout aimed at those living in upmarket apartments.
“That will be a new model. Not a derivative, a new one. That’s our plan,” he says.
Whatever form Bentley’s all-electric car finally takes, Tietz assures that it will still carry the hallmarks of the prestige marque.
“It has to be luxury. We are thinking about an extraordinary luxury car for big cities. So this is the direction. We don’t build a small car. It will be a luxury car with enough space to sit in.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.