Bentley builds hybrid future

DAVID MCCOWEN
Last updated 11:42 11/04/2014
Bentley hybrid

NEW TECHNOLOGY: Bentley's hybrid concept car.

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The effortless, wafting nature of Bentley's luxury cars will soon be strengthened by the addition of hybrid models.

The British luxury marque has prepared a petrol-electric hybrid concept car for this month's Beijing motor show.

Bentley says its plug-in hybrid system will offer a 25 per cent power increase along with a 70 per cent reduction in emissions.

It claims the car will be able to run for 50 kilometres on electric power alone before reverting to a powerful petrol engine.

Bentley chairman Dr Wolfgang Schreiber says Bentley will introduce hybrid power throughout its range.

"There is no doubt that plug-in hybrid technology is true to Bentley's values of outstanding luxury and effortless performance," he says.

"By the end of the decade, at least 90 per cent of our production will be available as a plug-in hybrid. We are proud to be pioneering these developments in the luxury sector."

Hybrid power has moved from eco-conscious hatchbacks such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight to high-tech supercars built by the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche.

Battery-boosted drivelines give carmakers the ability to meet strict European emissions laws while also offering thoroughbred performance on the road.

Bentley's first hybrid model will be a new Bentley SUV set to go on sale in 2017, though the upcoming concept car is based on its Mulsanne sedan.

Designers have paid tribute to the role of copper in electrical infrastructure by using the metal to highlight features on the car.

On the outside, the sedan features copper touches on its headlamps, grille, brake calipers and feature lines, and it has plenty of interior touches too.

Bentley's place in the Volkswagen Group gives it access to technology that requires bigger volumes to amortise development costs.

Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche are developing (or have developed) vehicles with alternative power through cars such as the Porsche 918 Spyder and Audi R8 eTron.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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