Bentley likes to see itself as a progressive company that has been keeping up with the times. Highly aware of the inevitable conquest of electrified vehicles, the British automaker has moved forward with plans to launch its very own pure electric vehicle.
Rolf Frech, Bentley’s board member in charge of engineering, confirmed to Australian outlet Drive that the company will eventually release a premium electric vehicle that will rival the Tesla Model S, stating:
“We are currently in the stage where we are evaluating all the possibilities, but there are so many question marks behind this. I think there will be an answer within the next six months to a year to decide which direction we will go, but of course electric will be a future strategy direction for Bentley.”
The car could be based on the striking Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept that debuted at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, featuring a low center of gravity and sporty driving dynamics that are ideally suited for an electric drivetrain.
Porsche is already working a production version of the electric Mission E Concept, which could serve as the basis for the electric Bentley considering that both brands are owned by the Volkswagen Group.
Frech didn’t reveal when the model will launch but chances are we won’t see it until 2020 at the earliest.
Bentley Bentayga SUV Goes Hybrid, But Why?
Bentley has introduced a plug-in hybrid version of the Bentayga as part of the Volkswagen Group’s shift towards electrification. The company bills it as the world’s first luxury hybrid,” but is it really?
There is no argument, however, that the Bentayga hybrid is Bentley’s “first step towards electrification” and its most efficient vehicle to date. Power is provided by a plug-in hybrid powertrain consisting of a new V6 gas engine that’s mated to an electric motor that also serves as a generator, allowing the large SUV to travel purely on electricity for over 31 miles (50 km) in the European cycle. It takes up to 7.5 hours to charge the battery using a domestic household socket and just 2.5 hours with a quick charger.
Visually, the Bentayga plug-in hybrid looks almost identical to the gasoline-powered Bentayga models, with a “hybrid” badge on the tailgate, front doors and sill plates being the most conspicuous exterior differentiator.
There story is a little bit different inside, where the auto-stop/start button has been replaced with a hybrid-themed drive mode selector with three driving modes — EV, Hybrid and Hold. The first two modes are self-explanatory; the Hold mode maintains the battery’s state of charge in all operations.
The Bentley Bentayga was likely a result of regulatory requirements rather than genuine interest from the company’s wealthy clients, who are generally not swayed by fuel-efficiency or gas prices. Sales begin in the second half of 2018.
Ford, Daimler, BMW, VW Form EV Charging Network Across Europe
BMW, Daimler, Ford, and the VW Group have formed Ionity, a new joint venture tasked with making it easier for electric car owners to charge their EVs easier and faster.
Ionity will be behind a new charging network that has a capacity of up to 350 kW per charging point and uses the European charging standard Combined Charging System to significantly reduce charging times compared to existing systems.
The company’s plan calls for the launch of 400 high powered charging stations by 2020 across Europe, starting with 20 in 2017 and an additional 80 in 2018. They will be maintained through partnerships with stores such as Tank & Rast, Circle K and OMV.
Chief Executive Officer Michael Hajesch stated:
“The first pan-European HPC network plays an essential role in establishing a market for electric vehicles. IONITY will deliver our common goal of providing customers with fast charging and digital payment capability, to facilitate long-distance travel.”
Ionity’s network will compete with Tesla’s Superchargernetwork, which is now 7,000 strong worldwide. Brand agnostic”, meaning it will be capable of charging all makes of current and future electric vehicles, and the four partners have invited other companies to join the venture
With an increasing number of European cities and even countries looking to ban internal combustion engines in an effort to cut emissions, Ionity represents a significant step toward increasing electric vehicle charging infrastructure and, thus, electric car uptake.
New Bentley Continental GT Brings More Power, Technology, Class
There is an all-new Bentley Continental GT and it looks and feels as expensive as it should, offering those wealthy enough to afford one more power, technology and class than ever before.
Described as a redesign of the “definitive Grand Tourer”, the third-generation Continental GT features a more sculpted body with sharper definition than its predecessor, clearly drawing inspiration from the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car. Bentley’s designs gave the ultra-lux sports coupe an all-aluminum body and shaped it using a hot-forming process that was previously used only for smaller components.
Powering the 2019 Continental GT is Bentley’s W12 TSI engine, which has been thoroughly retuned to produce 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. It is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission that allows for faster and more efficient gear changes.
A more capable powertrain combined with a body that’s more than 175 pounds lighter means the Continental GT can now launch from zero to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 207 mph.
To improve handling, Bentley’s engineers moved the engine rearward and the front wheels forward for a longer wheelbase that contributes to better weight distribution, and employed the company’s next-generation Dynamic Ride technology, which uses 48-volt actuators to actively counter body roll at each axle, for a stiffer chassis.
Other suspension changes make the care her in comfort modes and sportier in sport modes.
Like everything else, the interior has been elevated, boasting among many other premium features a now fully-digital instrument cluster, a 12.3-inch infotainment screen that rotates from behind the dash veneer, new 20-way adjustable seats with cooling, heating and massage functions, and acoustic glass that cuts outside noise by nine decibels. Bentley stated:
“We are the world leader in luxury mobility and our products and services define new luxury in the automotive world. The new Continental GT encapsulates our desire to innovate as well as celebrate our heritage and take the Bentley ownership experience to the next, unparalleled level.”
Pricing has yet to be announced, but the new Bentley Continental will be very expensive. It arrives in 2018.