Bentley delays electric vehicle roll out

Bentley will delay the launch of its first pure electric vehicle (EV) by a year, and now plans on having an electric-only range by 2033, instead of the earlier target of 2030.

Speaking at a press conference after announcing the brand’s 2023 results, Adrian Hallmark, Bentley’s CEO, told the press, including Automotive News Europe and Autocar, the company is now planning on unveiling its first EV towards the end of 2026 with deliveries starting in 2027.

The original Beyond 100 plan announced back in 2020 called for Bentley’s first EV to be launched in 2025. This would then be followed by a further four EVs, with one being launched per year until 2030, at which point the brand would be electric only.

Those subsequent EVs have been delayed too, and Bentley doesn’t expect to do without internal combustion engines until 2033 now.

According to Mr Hallmark, the company’s first EV will be an “incremental model” built at its factory in Crewe, UK. Introducing a new model with no direct predecessor is less of “gamble” and there’s less pressure on the car.

With its reset targets, Mr Hallmark claimed the company’s EV development budget and timelines are now “locked and loaded”.

Mr Hallmark said the slowed down EV roll out was due to technical issues rather than the lower than expected growth in EV demand.

He sheeted part of the blame onto the software problems and other issues encountered when Porsche and Audi were developing Platform Premium Electric (PPE), the architecture that will underpin Bentley’s future EVs. PPE finally made its production debut this year with the second-generation Porsche Macan, and the Audi Q6 e-tron.

The CEO also said today’s delay announcement will help the brand to solve the “battery and architecture issues that we have had to get to our attribute and target levels attribute and target levels”. Bentley’s previously stated goal was for its EVs to have 600km of range.

Bentley’s CEO also tried to sell another upside, noting “some of the autonomous features that we will now get are better than the ones that we would have got”. He said the cars would have “Level 2++” driver assistance tech with remote summon, but not hands-off-the-steering-wheel, eyes-off-the-road Level 3 autonomy.

Although its EV timeline is now stretched out further into the future, Bentley will stick to its previous goal of making its entire internal combustion engine range plug-in hybrid by 2026.

The Flying Spur and Continental two-door models will soon gain a twin-turbo V8 plug-in hybrid system that will effectively replace the W12 engine retired in 2023. The Bentayga will receive this drivetrain in 2026.


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