Bentley will convert its entire lineup to plug-in hybrid first. Later, it'll be all-electric.
Speaking to members of the press on the topic of their new Beyond100 Strategic Plan, top brass at Bentley offered new details on the brand's efforts to become an end-to-end carbon neutral organization during its second century of operation. Among the product bombshells dropped during the presentation: Bentley plans to launch two new plug-in hybrid models in 2021.
The company already confirmed that the facelifted 2021 Bentley Bentayga would spawn a PHEV variant, likely using the same V6 engine as before producing 443 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. We expect that the second PHEV will be based on the Flying Spur, and could use the V8 drivetrain from the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, but this remains speculation for now.
But Bentley won't stop there; by 2023, every model in its range will be offered with a hybrid variant. Hybrids will only be a stopgap, though, as Bentley will launch its first fully-electric model on a brand-new platform in 2025, well before numerous countries are set to mandate that all new passenger vehicles be pure-electric. By 2026, Bentley's entire lineup will consist exclusively of PHEVs and BEVs. And by 2030, Bentley says it will have ceased making internal combustion engines altogether, switching entirely over to battery-electric propulsion.
This of course means that Bentley's lovely W12 engine will go extinct by 2030 at the latest, but the timeline gives customers ample time to acclimate to the change. Bentley knows its customers aren't ready to say goodbye just yet; 50% of its new car customers chose the W12 in 2020. At the same time, some 55% of Bentley customers say they would consider an electric Bentley in the next five years.
Earlier this year, Bentley waved goodbye to its flagship Mulsanne and its long-lived L-Series V8 engine. When asked if the model could return as an EV, Bentley's Chairman and CEO Adrian Hallmark answered, "Wait and see. The segment of big sedans is interesting. It's not in growth phase. While we have an amazing heritage in that space, we have a perfect sedan with the Flying Spur. So let's see what evolves."
Along with changes to its model lineup, Bentley is striving to improve its environmental operations. Bentley says it will reach a climate positive factory by 2030 and begin using only sustainably-sourced materials throughout its current and next generation of vehicles.