Electrified luxury is on the way, but some automakers are willing to sacrifice being first past the post if it means delivering a more fleshed-out product.
Bentley won't be releasing a battery-electric vehicle in the near term, Automotive News Europe reports, citing an interview with Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark. "There is nothing industrialized in the supply chain before [2023 to 2025]," Hallmark told ANE.
The trouble lies with the tech. Hallmark told ANE that, while one could theoretically get decent range out of an electric Bentley at this point, it wouldn't be up to the automaker's high standards. "The problem is, when you get to our segment with the size of our vehicles and the frontal area we push through, current battery power density limits the size of the car you can offer with credible driving range," Hallmark said to ANE. That's why he thinks there won't be movement on his end until the mid-2020s.
The demand is already there. Hallmark said that approximately 40 percent of Bentley customers are already considering or would consider an electric vehicle. Hallmark also said that a future Bentley EV would appeal to a segment of the ultra-rich who don't currently buy into the highest echelon of vehicles.
Whatever does come from Bentley's electrification efforts, though, one thing is nearly certain -- it probably won't be a sports car. Hallmark said there are already plenty of other sporty EVs coming from Volkswagen Group (of which Bentley is part). Thus, Bentley's focus would be on a long-range grand tourer, but that being said, it could possibly use the same PPE electric platform that Audi and Porsche are jointly developing, but nothing is set in stone yet.
Right now, the PPE platform will underpin at least three electric vehicles. Two will come from Porsche, starting with the Taycan sport sedan and eventually adding the Mission E Cross Turismo (albeit with a different name). Following those vehicles will be the Audi E-Tron GT's production version, a concept previewing which arrived at this year's LA Auto Show.
That doesn't mean Bentley will be averse to electrification until 2023. The Bentayga SUV has already been given a plug-in hybrid powertrain that will offer 31 miles of EV range, and its EXP 12 Speed 6e concept married one beautiful concept car to a battery-electric powertrain.
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