Bentley could be the latest Volkswagen Group brand to get an electric car. While it is probably the most traditional of the VW Group brands, a new report claims Bentley is evaluating the possibility of a production electric car, taking it in the direction of other, trend-chasing luxury brands.
The British carmaker is studying the idea of an electric car, but is too early in the process to make any concrete plans, Bentley board member Rolf Frech told Australia’s Drive during the media launch of the Bentayga SUV last week. His comments indicated Bentley hasn’t made any firm decisions about the form of this potential electric car.
“I think there will be an answer within the next six months to a year to decide which direction we will go,” Frech said, “but of course electric will be a future strategy direction for Bentley.”
Frech hinted that Bentley could build an all-electric version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept that debuted to widespread acclaim at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show last year. However, Frech also said the electric model could be a “more traditional car.” In addition to choosing a platform, Bentley also has to allocate production capacity for another model; it’s currently ramping up production of the Bentayga, and reportedly has a new Continental GT and least one more other model queued up.
One thing that isn’t in doubt is where Bentley will get its electric powertrain components from. Frech said Bentley could borrow components from the Porsche Mission E sedan, although he noted it won’t use that car’s platform. Unveiled as a concept at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Mission E is set to go into production before the end of the decade. It will be joined by a production version of the Audi e-tron quattro SUV concept, an electric Volkswagen Phaeton, and potentially the electric Bentley, giving VW four luxury electric models.
It’s unclear how plans for an all-electric car will affect Bentley’s previously-discussed commitment to plug-in hybrids. In 2014, Bentley unveiled the Hybrid Concept, a plug-in hybrid version of the Mulsanne. At the time, it said most of its models would eventually be offered with plug-in hybrid powertrains, starting with the Bentayga.