British luxury carmaker Bentley is adding to its electric car product planning in the next few years.
While a plug-in hybrid version of the Bentayga has been set to launch in 2017 or early 2018, Bentley is seriously considering adding a fully electric drivetrain package. It’s being driven by compliance with stricter global emissions and mileage standards – as well as pressure to add new zero-emissions models.
There’s also competition in the luxury sports car market to go green. Aston Martin will be rolling out a battery-powered version of the Rapide, which demonstrates how competitive the luxury EV market is becoming.
One electric car that Bentley is expected to launch would be a production version of the EXP10 Speed Six concept vehicle that was shown off at the Geneva Motor Show in 2015. It was designed by styling chief Luc Donckerwolke, and is smaller than the Bentley Continental GT. It may be produced at a higher level than other Bentley models to reach a much larger audience than Bentley now serves.
CEO Wolfgang Durheimer has made comments about his interest in adding a second SUV to the Bentley line-up, following the Bentayga. If a smaller SUV does get the corporate green light, it’s likely to be built on a downsized version of the modular architecture developed for the Bentayga. That same platform will be used, as well, for the next-generation Porsche Cayenne, along with the replacement for the current Audi Q7, which come from sister companies in the Volkswagen family.
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Along with European emissions standards, Bentley is being driven by regulations and subsidies in markets important to Bentley’s sales strategy. Michael Winkler, CEO of Bentley’s U.S. sales arm, says that markets around the world are raising the standards.
“Some places around the world, like London, are considering rules that may not let you drive into the city in a car that isn’t electrified,” Winkler said.
In China, electric vehicles qualify from hefty incentives. EVs are also exempt from restrictions on the number of vehicles that can be registered in major cities like Shanghai and Bangkok, Thailand, he said.