By on April 1, 2020

Despite the grand proclamations from various mass-market automakers about the imminent arrival of an all-electric future, not everyone’s so eager to hop on board. Many OEMs have proven hesitant to pump too many dollars into EV development. Further up the societal ladder, luxury automakers, especially those from Germany, have no choice but to pad their lineups with EU-pleasing electrics, but the ultra-lux crowd is a different story.

Rapid movement in trendy new directions is typically not a defining feature of this rarified class.

Bentley, a marque that conjures up images of leather and wood as much as it does large displacements and prodigious thirst, isn’t immune to the eco-conscious (and regulatory) pressure heaped upon automakers these days. It does plan to field an EV, but it won’t happen for a while. And when that model does arrive, it may tread a very different path than the Germans.

According to Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark, the model, expected out by 2025, could find a novel way of sandwiching a huge number of battery cells into a vehicle that isn’t an SUV. Solid-sate batteries are every automaker’s dream technology, but Bentley engineers are moving ahead on the assumption that they won’t be along in time for the brand’s new EV. Lithium-ion batteries, and the weight and bulk that comes with them, it is.

Speaking to Autocar, Hallmark suggested that, rather than placing an expansive, range-packed battery beneath the floor of a utility vehicle, it might just adjust a sedan bodystyle to make it work.

“If we’re to launch an electric car in the mid-2020s, then it either needs to be smaller than today’s cars or the same size but not as upright, and smaller isn’t an appealing solution, as it implies a lower price segment,” Hallmark said. “The prediction is battery technology will have moved forward again by that date and that will put us at the edge of what we think we need to give customers: 300-350 miles of range, or enough to cruise at a 65 mph average for five hours.”

Essentially, Hallmark said, his crew has landed on a shape that combines the body of a sedan with the ride height of a utility vehicle. Sounds a little like that Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept from two years ago — a model that merged the platform of a Mercedes-Benz GLS with an awkwardly lifted sedan bodystyle. The concept went nowhere, as Mercedes-Maybach eventually opted for a gussied-up GLS.

“We need to be looking at how we can deliver slippier cars with a profile that gets the most out of it aerodynamically in order to deliver on that promise,” Hallmark said.

Whether the boys and girls at Bentley follow through on this thinking remains to be seen. Right now, development of the company’s first EV is only just entering the conceptual stage.

[Image: Bentley]

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3 Comments on “Report: Bentley Thinking Outside the Box for First EV...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “And when that model does arrive, it may tread a very different path than the Germans.”

    What Germans? Bentley is part of the Volkswagen Group.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      “And when that model does arrive, it may tread a very different path than the Germans.”

      So not through France and Poland this time? Sorry, couldn’t help it.

  • avatar

    “a shape that combines the body of a sedan with the ride height of a utility vehicle. ‘

    They stole the idea from Ford 500.

    “enough to cruise at a 65 mph average for five hours.”

    Well that’s not enough to drive from SF Bay area to LA at least 75 mph. So I pass.

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