The Geneva Motorshow always brings exciting new developments in the World of Bentley and the 2018 show has been no exception. Bentley has announced its first hybrid model with CEO, Adrian Hallmark, describing it as “the first step on the road to electrification”.
When this blog predicted, a few years ago, that a 3-litre Bentley could return to mark the centenery of the company in 2019, the author didn’t imagine it would arrive in this form. Bentley’s first chassis was a 3-litre built at Cricklewood in London, but the engine sizes soon ramped up to support the heavy luxurious bodies coach-builders were making for them. This Hybrid SUV will use a 3.0L V6 engine in conjunction with a powerful electric motor to enable Zero Emissions driving in controlled zones such as Central London, yet maintain sufficient performance when travelling out of town. Overall C02 emissions are estimated to be around 75g/km.
The electric-only range is expected to be around 31miles (50km), which will cover the typical commute, while the expected charge time using a conventional plug socket at home will be around 7.5 hours. The Bentayga Hybrid will also come with a high-power cable to allow faster charging, reducing the top-up time to around 2.5 hours. Conventional fuel will keep the wheels turning where plug-sockets are scarce.
The Hybrid Bentley interior is almost identical to the traditionally fuelled car, but a few changes have been made to the instrument panel where relevant, for the driver to keep an eye on the state of charge, and to manage the powertrain. The car should be smart enough to maximise efficiency settings itself, but the options are there for the driver to over-rule if desired.
Since it became part of the VW Group, Bentley has taken a more serious approach to minimising the effect on the environment of a high-end luxury car. Dual-fuel engines designed to run on Bio-Diesel as well as conventional diesel have been available for a number of years, but this is the first time electric power has been made available.
To add a bit of Bentley flair to the process of recharging, the company has teamed up with maverick industrial designer, Phillipe Starck, to produce an elegant charging point for domestic use. The specially commissioned piece is designed to mount to an indoor or outdoor wall, or can be free standing. As per most of Starck’s creations, it uses ethical and environmentally sensitive materials and tactile surfaces with the aim of making the simple act of plugging in the car, a more enjoyable experience.
Orders for the Hybrid Bentayga will be taken from the second half of 2018, so expect the first new 3-litre Bentley for a hundred years to arrive on the streets in 2019.