Delivery of the first vehicles of what is said to be the world’s most luxurious plug-in hybrid have commenced in the UK, as premium auto marque Bentley takes another step towards an electric future.
The Bentayga plug-in hybrid (PHEV) has been in the works for some time now, preceding the carmaker’s first all-electric version of the luxury SUV which is expected in 2025.
A more efficient version than its high-priced petrol and diesel stablematers, the Bentayga PHEV starts at a similarly luxurious price £133,100, €141,100 or $US160,000 (that’s $A238,370 today’s rates).
“The delivery of the first Bentayga Hybrid models is an historic moment for Bentley, taking us a step closer to the roll-out of truly sustainable luxury mobility solutions,” said Peter Bosch, Bentley’s board member for manufacturing, in a statement
“As we prepare for the next 100 years, we are investing significantly in new initiatives that reinforce our commitment to sustainability, as demonstrated by the visionary all-electric Bentley EXP 100 GT concept.”
Bentley is billing it as its “most efficient Bentley” yet – and it is, consuming 3.5 litres of fuel per kilometre on the WLTP weighted, combined cycle with its 3 litre turbocharged petrol engine.
If one must dig deep into one’s pockets to acquire this inimitably sumptuous SUV, then that is an admirable improvement, to be sure – but we’d like to see the all-electric version offered up as an alternative sooner than in 6 years time, thank you very much.
In the meantime, the well-heeled will have to suffice with a 39km electric range (on the NEDC cycle too, so likely much less), and three driving modes.
In EV Drive mode, the vehicle uses only energy from the battery delivering 94kW max power from the combined electric motor and “power generator”, and 400Nm of torque.
In Hybrid Mode it draws on the in-built navigation system to optimise power usage using both the electric motor and the V6 engine, says Bentley.
In “Hold” mode, the vehicle optimises driving to recapture energy for the battery (by using the engine only we presume) – noting that energy recuperation to the battery is available in all modes during braking and deceleration.
When combined with the V6 engine, the electric motor offers 700Nm torque and combined emits 79 grams per km of CO2.
Bentley says it is aiming to offer hybrid variants of all its models by 2023.
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.