While Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark has previously said its first EV will be launched by 2025, it now appears the model will debut towards the end of that timetable. As Hallmark explained to Auto News Europe, there’s “nothing industrialized in the supply chain before 2023-2024-2025” that can meet the company’s requirements. In effect, the company is waiting for battery technology to catch up to its range and size requirements.
Hallmark declined to say if the company’s first electric vehicle would be based on an existing model or an all-new product, but he did say it will a “continent-muncher” that can travel long distances in style and comfort. He went on to say the model will be a Bentley first and an electric vehicle second.
While we still have a few years before we see an electric Bentley, the company isn’t worried about the delay. As Hallmark noted, about 40 percent of the company’s customers would consider buying an electric vehicle and they also appeal to non-traditional customers such as “upper liberals” and “post-moderns.” These two groups are important to Bentley as nearly 40 percent of high-net-worth individuals fall into one of these two categories.
Speaking of the wealthy, Hallmark noted there are more approximately 16 million people with assets – stock and other investments – totaling over $1 million (£792,010 / £878,355). That number is expected to jump to 20 million by 2025, but only a “few tens of thousands” buy ultra-luxury vehicles every year.
Other key takeaways from the interview include the announcement that Bentley is working on an upgraded Bentayga plug-in hybrid. There’s no word on when the model will arrive, but Hallmark said it will have a larger battery pack and this will allow for a greater electric-only range. The updated model will also qualify as an ultra low-emissions vehicle.
Hallmark also said the Bentayga Diesel was dropped in Europe due to falling demand for diesel engines. The executive also stated he doesn’t fear competition from other luxury crossovers such as the Aston Martin DBX and Rolls-Royce Cullinan. As he explained, cross shopping is rare between ultra-luxury brands and the Cullinan’s base price is significantly higher than the Bentayga’s.