Bentley’s entire model range will be available with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variants, CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer has confirmed.
Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress at the Detroit motor show, Dürheimer almost immediately made the announcement, after briefly mentioning autonomous driving.
Dürheimer said: “You will understand if I don’t reveal our entire future product plan here today, but I can say that we are eager to introduce plug-in hybrid technology across all model lines in the next few years.”
“For Bentley, I consider PHEV much more than a transitional technology. It combines the best of both worlds.”
Dürheimer's comments dispel the notion of an all-electric Bentley in the near future, after new design director Stefan Sielaff had been charged with provoking debate within Bentley over the possibility of an all-electric model. Sielaff’s comment of “not every idea we have is for production” seems to be confirmed by Dürheimer’s plug-in hybrid-only electrification strategy.
Dürheimer continued to suggest that fully autonomous cars would also never be in Bentley’s area of interest, saying: “technology in isolation is cold and can never be truly luxurious. We must never lose the human touch.”
Bentley’s attitude towards electric cars is in direct contrast with that of rival Rolls-Royce, which is said to admire EV technology for its silence and instant torque. In the past, the brand has experimented with EV powertrains in the Phantom 102EX.
Bentley's plug-in hybrid expansion is expected to begin with the Continental GT and GTC, which will get the same 410bhp PHEV powertrain as the Porsche Cayenne plug-in hybrid. The Bentley Bentayga will follow the GT models in its adoption of a PHEV powertrain, although not until 2018. A Bentayga Coupé will be introduced in 2019, also with plug-in hybrid power.