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Bentley Motors, James Lipman

Bentley going green with Hybrid Concept in Beijing

Luxury automaker Bentley will debut a plug-in hybrid concept based on its Mulsanne model at the Beijing auto show later this month.

Bentley Hybrid Concept
The Bentley Hybrid Concept, based on the Mulsanne model, heralds a major hybrid technology push. Bentley Motors

No one would confuse a Bentley with a Prius, but the cars will soon share some kinship under the skin -- Bentley will unveil its Hybrid Concept at the Beijing International Automobile Exhibition this month as a precursor to a range of hybrid model offerings. The first production model slated to come with a hybrid drivetrain will be the all-new SUV that Bentley has been preparing for launch.

The Hybrid Concept car to be shown in Beijing is based on the flagship Mulsanne model . In its preview news release, Bentley included few details. However, one photo shows the same 6.75-liter twin-turbo V-8 as in the stock Mulsanne, which suggests Bentley added the electric system without downsizing the engine. Given the performance of other hybrid systems, that likely means more power and better fuel economy. Bentley's release notes up to 25 percent more power and a 70 percent reduction in CO2.

Beyond a simple hybrid system, though, Bentley also made this one a plug-in, a type of hybrid that typically includes a larger battery pack and a small amount of pure electric range. Bentley is claiming 31 miles of pure electric range for the Hybrid Concept.

As part of the Volkswagen Group, Bentley can draw on previously developed hybrid technologies. Sister brands range from the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, to the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid.

Bentley's Chief Executive, Wolfgang Schreiber, notes in the press release that 90 percent of the Bentley line-up will be available as a plug-in hybrid by the end of the decade.

Bentley promises that its plug-in hybrid SUV will be available in 2017.