Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark will deliver the first all-electric Bentley to its new owner in three years. By 2030, he wants every single of the company’s five production models (one more than at present) to be battery-powered.
In an interview with the English car magazine Autocar Hallmark said: “Our surveys tell us that around 70% of customers expect us to build them an all-electric Bentley within five years.” He believes buying a Bentley has distinct rational and emotional sides.
As the architect of the biggest change in his company’s 104-year history, Hallmark requires the key support of the Bentley faithful but is already confident that this expanding band has accepted the need for Bentley’s transition into the electric world, with others following fast.
The company has already launched V6 hybrid versions of its Bentley Bentayga SUV and Bentley Flying Spur limousine, and they are both selling very well. There are similar plans for its Continental range next year.
Rational versus emotional
On the rational side, the trend toward EV acceptance is strong because owners tend to live in cities and use their cars every day. They realize that even if it’s possible to buy combustion cars in the future, these models will soon carry restrictions and extra costs. So they don’t want the hassle.
Feeding the emotional side is very squarely down to Crewe’s designers and engineers, currently working on the challenge. “The latest-generation Bentley Continental GT is an excellent example of how things will go,” says Hallmark. “The Conti’s design, proportions, interior, and dynamics all set new standards, and the next-generation cars will do it again.”
“They will happen to be electric, but all the traditional qualities will go up another notch. Moreover, our new powertrains will have between 50% and 100% more power than we currently offer, so the performance will be there too.”
Two degrees of freedom
On battery range, Hallmark claims his future Bentley EVs will have “two degrees of freedom” not available to mainstream models. First, they will have early access to sophisticated new battery technologies, and their intrinsically higher prices will allow them to use the tech sooner than mainstream cars.
Early on, there will be two battery specifications, with the Speed models using the higher-performance variety. Hallmark speaks of this variety as “the W12 of batteries”. “Our cars will have a 560- to 725-mile range, together with a rapid-charging time from 10% to 80% in less than 20 minutes.”
The new Bentleys will be “easily recognizable”. However, Bentley has no plans to reduce the imposing size of its cars and is also prepared to concede only “a little” on aerodynamic efficiency. “Our job is to build Bentleys,” concludes Hallmark, “not BEVs with Bentley badges attached.”
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