- Representational image || Bentley EXP 100 GT Concept

During the start of the last decade, just a few carmakers had decided to make a move to electrification. Fast forward to 2020, and we see only a handful of carmakers are left to jump ship. The latest to join this all-electric bandwagon is British carmaker Bentley.

While having a chat with Automotive News Europe, Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark spilt out the company’s plans of entering the electric market. When asked if the electric model will feature a new nameplate, Hallmark said, “We could take one of the existing nameplates, and that could be the first electric car, but we wouldn’t take an existing car and try to fit batteries into it, because there’s a compromise from a range and efficiency point of view”.

Hence, the theory of Bentley developing a brand new model for its all-electric platform gets validated. But this further leads us to another couple of questions: first, what would Bentley name their new electric car and second, what body structure will it carry? While Hallmark had no idea on the new nameplate, he did give out a tentative timeline for the same. According to him, “2025 is the earliest we can get a credible battery-electric Bentley [on the road]”.

As for the second question, Hallmark was smart enough not to give out any specifics. However, on being enquired if a battery-propelled Bentley would be smaller in size, Hallmark mentioned, “Smaller is a relative thing because we are not going to build a Mini. It would be space optimised. Take the Jaguar I-Pace. The interior volume is the same as the Range Rover, but it’s about 35cm shorter. We would always build it so that the interior is Bentley-sized and to Bentley’s standards”.

So, if you’re wondering that Bentley’s first electric car might be an I-Pace-esque crossover, the chances look good to me. Moreover, the brand doesn’t possess any such crossover in its current line-up, and I think world trends would be a reliable source to back me up on the gaining popularity of crossovers at the moment. If that didn’t suffice, Hallmark’s reply on the crossover-EV possibility might clear the air out. He went on to say, “I think electric cars will be slightly higher because of where the batteries are now. However, with new battery technologies, it will be possible to make cars that are lower as well as cars that are taller because the increased power density will overcome the aero resistance”.

Speaking on the powertrain options for its electric vehicle, Bentley is looking to venture out on the solid-state battery pack option. And that seems like a step in a positive direction as the benefits explained by Hallmark prevails over the lithium-ion batteries. As per the company boss, “They (solid-state batteries) are about 30 per cent lighter for the same power as lithium-ion. An I-pace has 720kg of batteries, so going to 500kg instead of 720kg makes a difference. Also, think about how that changes the packaging.”

So, there we have it. Bentley’s very first electric car will bear a new nameplate along with a footprint resembling the Jaguar I-Pace. Although the company boss has hinted towards the utilisation of solid-state batteries, we won’t be seeing it in the flesh, anytime before 2025.

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