Expect More Luxury Car Makers To Follow This Route.
British-based and Volkswagen-owned luxury vehicle maker Bentley is jumping on the plug-in hybrid bandwagon showing its Bentley Hybrid Concept to demonstrate the technology set to appear in the company’s SUV available in 2017.
The Bentley Hybrid Concept will be on display at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition later this month.
Manufacturers of big, luxury gas guzzlers like Bentley are desperate to find ways to meet ever-tightening fuel consumption regulations in the U.S., Europe and China, without having to slash the size and power which allows them to charge huge prices to the rich and famous.
Some manufacturers have chosen the all electric route, like Tesla Motors. Most of the rest are hedging their bets as battery-only, hybrids and fuel cells vie for the inside track. Plug-in hybrid technology, which offers limited battery range of say 30 to 40 miles, coupled with a gasoline engine, appears to be the most viable so far for luxury car makers.
This technology is currently available in the latest Toyota Prius, but Porsche already has launched its 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid. BMW has announced it will add plug-in technology to its X5 SUV. Joining in will be the Volvo XC90 in 2015. British based and Indian owned Jaguar Land Rover is expected to sign up too. But it’s not just big, pricey cars that will use this technology. VW is equipping its little Golf with PHEV technology, and its Audi A3 too.
Bentley is going for plug-ins in a big way.
“There is no doubt that plug-in hybrid technology is true to Bentley’s values of outstanding luxury and effortless performance. Combining our renowned engines with electric power reinforces and enhances both principles, and so we will gradually introduce this powertrain across our model range. By the end of the decade, at least 90% of our production will be available as a plug-in hybrid. We are proud to be pioneering these developments in the luxury sector,” said Wolfgang Schreiber, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley Motors.
Bentley said its hybrid system will offer a power increase of up to 25% together with a 70% reduction in fuel use. Bentley hybrids will also be capable of driving at least 30 miles on electric power alone, allowing for emissions-free city driving with the option of enhanced performance on the open road.
The Bentley Hybrid Concept is based on the flagship model the Mulsanne.