Bentley pins future on plug-in hybrids

Article by John Mahoney, Images by, January 12, 2016.

Bentley has announced that it will introduce a plug-in hybrid version of every vehicle it makes to cut emissions and head off a potential city bans of conventional petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.

The plug-in hybrid announcement was made by the luxury British car maker's CEO, Wolfgang Duerheimer, at the Detroit motor show.

Speaking at a conference, organised by Automotive News, Duerheimer declared plug-in hybrid technology as providing the "best of two worlds".

Going on to explain that most Bentley owners use their vehicles for long, uninterrupted trips, the Bentley boss explained how pure-electric vehicles were not viable for its customers.

“To cover long distances and to make it from one city to another -- and you travel long distances in the U.S. -- I think the combustion engine will follow us for a long time,” Duerheimer said.

Announcing that the Bentayga SUV would be the first recipient of the new PHEV tech in 2018, Duerheimer told Automotive News the next vehicle plug-in vehicle will be the all-new Continental GT that arrives later this year.

The Bentley boss says the GT plug-in will follow on from the W12-powered launch vehicle and will arrive ahead of the V8. Surprisingly, following the firm's 2014 Hybrid Concept that combined a large V8 with plug-in hybrid tech, Duerheimer announced that Bentley will use a V6 plug-in hybrid that will produce the same power as the V8 that will follow.

That means the new plug-in powertrain will have to produce around 400kW (combined) to the 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo expected power output.

For that level of power, it's thought Bentley will be forced to develop an all-new petrol V6 engine.

To share costs, it's likely the same petrol plug-in powertrain will be used in the forthcoming hybrid version of the Lamborghini Urus that was recently confirmed.