And it will have close ties to Audi.
Like Rolls-Royce, an intrinsic part of what makes a Bentley a Bentley is the use of a large-capacity V8 or V12 engine under the hood. It fades into the background most of the time as it whisks its occupants down the road and only emits a cultured roar when pushed. Of course, Bentley must confront a new future of electric powertrains just like everyone else.
The company said last year that it will be a fully electric brand by 2030 although the famous W12 engine isn't dead just yet. In a new interview with the UK's Car Magazine, Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark divulged some more details about the company's first EV.
As Bentley falls in line with the Volkswagen Group's plans to halt the development of new combustion engines, the first Bentley EV will benefit from the group's Artemis platform. Also known as Project Artemis, this platform will underpin future Audis as well.
"Looking forward to electrification, we're going to have closer synergies with Audi," said Hallmark. However, he emphasized that "strong relationships" will continue with both Porsche and Audi. While Bentley isn't leading the development of Artemis, the company's future EV will benefit from it.
As for what body style the first Bentley SUV will be, Hallmark said: "If you're not in SUVs, you're nowhere." Bentley's first EV likely being an SUV is no surprise since the Bentayga remains the company's top-selling model, although a high-riding sedan was actually thought to be the choice of body style in a report late last year.
When will Bentley's first EV arrive? Well, it seems as if we'll still see it in around four years. "2025 is the right time for us," stated Hallmark. "Weight is a concern. But we're seeing rapid evolution in battery power density, and we're dedicated to making things lighter and more aerodynamic. And battery-electric vehicles are right for Bentley: quiet, effortless, high torque, refined performance."
Hallmark said that the company's approach to building vehicles will have to change, with design coming after the hybrid components were positioned appropriately. He said that nearly 40 percent of Bentley customers are open to buying an EV as their next car, which bodes well for the company when its first EV does arrive.