An electric Bentley SUV is coming in 2025
It'll be the company's first EV and will be built on the VW Group's new Artemis platform
Bentley has made it no secret that its future is electric. It's well on its way to becoming a fully electric brand by 2030 and has already said that its first fully electric car will be on the market by 2025. Now, in a new interview with Car Magazine in the UK, Bentley's CEO Adrian Hallmark has revealed more details about the first electric Bentley.
According to Hallmark, Bentley's first EV will be an SUV built on the VW Group's new Artemis platform. This platform is currently being developed by Audi and all of the VW Group's premium brands, including Bentley and Porsche, will benefit from it. "With our current cars, we had to get into the engineering largely after they [the platforms] had been done. The difference now is that with Artemis we're right in there at the beginning, helping define it. We're not leading it, but we're going to be a beneficiary of it."
"Looking forward to electrification, we're going to have closer synergies with Audi," Hallmark explained. "But we will continue to have strong relationships with both brands [Audi and Porsche], and we see this as an opportunity, not a risk. No question – we are electrifying. And we need to find the best way to fast-track that, and to lead the technology charge."
When explaining why the first electric Bentley will be an SUV, Hallmark succinctly summed it up by saying that "If you're not in SUVs, you're nowhere." The Bentayga is Bentley's best-selling model, so it isn't surprising that Hallmark has this view about SUVs!
"2025 is the right time for us," Hallmark said regarding when the new electric Bentley will be available to the public. "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 isn't too worried about Bentley's electric future, it seems. "I'm proud of the fact that we launched the first generation of our new era with a 12-cylinder engine, and since then we've sold more 12-cylinder cars than any other company ever. But the customer mindset is changing; 39 per cent of Bentley owners are considering a BEV as their next car." Hallmark also isn't too worried about designing an entirely new kind of car for the company (an electric SUV) from the ground up. "We tend to start with a design that's unbuildable, then work out how to build it," he laughed, before explaining the different design challenges that come with EVs. "With EVs you have to do it the other way around. Look at the [Jaguar] i-Pace. It was designed around the battery. That gave the width and the wheelbase, and the height to get the occupants in. Then aero was the next determinant. Styling was last.
Hallmark is absolutely adamant though that just because Bentley will be going electric and as a result changing their approach to making cars, what makes a Bentley a Bentley will absolutely not go away. "As we move into EVs we're not going to throw away our brand DNA," Hallmark was keen to express. "But we have to reinterpret it and be a bit more progressive." Whatever form Bentley takes in its new electric future, there is one thing for certain; the core Bentley ethos that has made the classic British brand beloved the world over will never, ever go away. Whether it's powered by 8 cylinders, 12 cylinders or electric motors, a Bentley will always be a Bentley.