New company CEO admits the firm needs to accelerate its electrification plans - and hints full electric car is due within five years

New Bentley boss Adrian Hallmark has acknowledged that the brand was not as prepared for future technology as it could have been - but he says it is now forging ahead with a revised strategy to ensure it is at the forefront of electrification. 

The firm only launched its first electrified model, the Bentayga hybrid, earlier this year, Hallmark, who was appointed CEO of the firm earlier this year, moving across from Jaguar Land Rover, told Autocar: “We maybe weren’t as prepared for autonomous, connected and electrified strategies as we could have been.

“The [Bentayga] hybrid is a great first step but we need to do more than one hybrid. Hence the first thing we’ve changed [since I started] is the electrification of the cycle plan as fast as we can. 

2018 Bentley Continental GT review

Hallmark, who previously worked at Bentley as a board member for sales, marketing and PR until 2005, added: “That’s been quite a big change and we’ve shuffled a number of things around to be able to do it. It means that in every name plate will be an electrified option - hybrid or full electric – by 2025. We’ll flesh out specific plans in the next three to six months. Certainly by the end of this year, we’ll be in a much clearer position about what we’ll do.”

Hallmark said he was “positively surprised” at the reaction to the Bentayga hybrid, which was revealed at this year’s Geneva motor show. “Of the five declared luxury brands of Lamborghini, Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin and us, we’re the first to do it in a conventional, production, mainstream vehicle," he said. "And the kudos we’ve got for it, and the interest, is incredible.”

Our Verdict

Bentley Continental GT 2018 Autocar road test review Hero front

Super-GT packs Bentley-grade lavishness in a sportier than ever, all-new package

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

He predicts that hybrid volume will account for 10% of Bentayga sales from launch, but is hesitant to put firm numbers on uptake, citing California as a case in point: “It’s the leading market in the world for electrification and [electrified cars] still only accounts for 3% of sales.”

It’s possible that the next Bentley to be given a hybrid powertrain will be the upcoming Flying Spur, due later this year.

Hallmark also confirmed that a pure electric Bentley was due within the next five years, but would not divulge more details on which kind of model it would be. “I do know we will go electric in the next five years, it’s got to be, but bodystyles [for that car], we could do anything.”

Read more

2018 Continental GT review 

Flying Spur to get more distinctive design 

Flying Spur could be the brand's next hybrid

 

Join the debate

Comments
5

1 May 2018

Well this is embarrassing Rachel. You post an opinion piece yesterday saying that Bentley will be at the forefront of electrification, and then the boss admits they’ve been slow on the uptake.

2 May 2018

In the San Diego Times on 22 Feb 18 it was reported that: 

“The market for alternative vehicles experienced a solid 2017. The market share for electric, plug-in hybrids and hybrid vehicles in 2017 reached 9.4 percent.”

So alternative fuel vehicles do not account for 3% of California’s car market as Mr Hallmark claims but over three times that percentage and closing in on 10%. In 2018 that share of the market will only increase. One has to ask why Bentley finds itself in this position and why the CEO feels the need to explain away the failure to produce hybrid and electric vehicles. Could it be due to Bentley being part of VAG/VW and an emphasis on diesels? Could the wildly incorrect assertion of a 3% market share for alternative fuel vehicles in California be an attempt to convince nervous shareholders that Bentley’s utter failure to adapt to one of its biggest markets is OK? I think the the answers are clear - VAG screwed up on dieselgate and stopped its brands from developing alternative fuel vehicles and is now trying to justify such stupidity with utter nonsense about low sales of alternative fuel vehicles to pacify the shareholders.

 

2 May 2018

There's plenty of other companies out there in the same position.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

2 May 2018

I'm rather pleased they're not prepared for electrification.

 

What is the basis for thinking there is an uptapped market for an electic Bentley?  

 

Just saying it is so doesn't make it so.  

23 May 2018

This Hybrid situation doen't add up to me.What we are now saying is that battery packs for normal and large sized cars weigh between 500-1000 KGS.All dead weight, which

 effects the range of the vehicle.Are we now going backwards.Remember knights of the realm wore suits of armour to protect themselves in battle,now we have kevlar vests etc to stop bullets.So I liken this lemming like rush to Hybrids in cars weighing north of 2tonnes,Tesla for example,the same as going back to suits of armour,ridiculous.Also if you do drive one of these vehicles on long drives are you prepared to wait 30minutes for a high speed recharge to 80% of battery capacity every 200miles,when refilling a petrol or diesel is 5minutes,I' not.

garage man

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week