The Bentley Hybrid Concept was just unveiled at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, but its maker was short on details regarding the car’s unprecedented-for-Bentley plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Now, Bentley CEO Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber has revealed a little more. In an interview with Car and Driver, he said the system has lot in common with those used in other Volkswagen Group hybrids, and that it could eventually be offered in 90 percent of Bentley models.
The electric half of the powertrain consists of a motor-generator sandwiched between the engine and transmission, and fed by a (likely lithium-ion) battery pack of indeterminate size. It’s the same configuration you’ll find in a lowly Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid.
Of course, the Bentley has something a little more impressive than the Jetta’s 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine under its hood. The Hybrid Concept wears a “6 3/4 Litre” badge, indicating that the engine is the 6.75-liter V8 used in the stock Mulsanne, the model the concept is based on.
Schreiber told Car and Driver that the hybrid system could work with different engines, but noted that Bentley’s 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W-12 somewhat defeats the purpose of a powertrain meant to save fuel.
The Hybrid Concept truly points the way to Bentley’s future, as 90 percent of its models will offer hybrid options by 2020, according to Schreiber.
Among those will be Bentley’s first SUV – set to launch in a few years – and possibly even some S and Speed performance models.
After all, Schreiber noted, an electric motor can increase power as well as efficiency.