But finally the British marquee has indicated its intention to debut its first all-electric car within the next half-a-decade.
2020 is expected to be a huge year for the car industry as brands across the sector transition towards electrification. Bentley revealed its first-ever electrified production car at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show in the form of a hybrid Bentayga; but, quickly confirmed that it wouldn’t fit an electric powertrain and a battery pack in one of the cars in its current portfolio.
In an interview with Automotive News Europe magazine, Bentley boss Adrian 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.”
In the same interview, Mr Hallmark also explained how energy-dense, solid-state battery technology could help make electric cars more compact and lighter.
“I’m not saying that we are guaranteed to go solid state, but that is already on the radar within that mid-2020s period,” he added.
“They are about 30% lighter for the same power as lithium-ion. An I-pace has 720 kg (1,587 pounds) of batteries, so going to 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) instead of 720kg makes a difference. Also, think about how that changes the packaging.
“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.”
Last year, Bentley unveiled the EXP 100 GT concept car as part of its 100th birthday celebrations. The all-electric concept was presented as “the Grand Tourer for the world of 2035” and was thought to offer a vision of future Bentley cars with electric propulsion.