Hello and welcome to your daily Charge Smart blog! Today, let's take a look at Bentley's EV plans.
So far, Bentley haven’t really shown any sort of interest in electric vehicles and it’s unlikely that they’ll ever be a major EV manufacturer. They are a premium luxury brand after all. The electric motors in their cars are only there to move the seats in 25 different directions and power your champagne coolers. However, they are part of the Volkswagen Audi group whose leading brand VW is convinced that EVs are the best thing since sliced bread. So, what do Bentley think about EVs you may ask.
Above: Bentley's EXP 100 GT concept
You’d be surprised to know that Bentley are already working on a platform for their future EVs. It’s called the Premium Platform Electric or PPE for short. It’s based on the idea that batteries and solid-state batteries specifically could change vehicle design in the future. Bentley’s CEO said that the chances of Bentley using solid state by the mid-20s are rather high. That’s because they are a massive improvement over traditional batteries in one key area. That’s weight. The solid-state ones are lighter, 30% lighter in fact while delivering the same amount of power as their lithium-ion counterparts. That’s a big saving! He believes that today’s battery tech directly means that ride heights must be raised to accommodate the large number of them used in EVs. However, we’d have to disagree with that.
So far, EVs have mostly been sedans or hatches, cars with lower ride heights. It’s only of late that we’ve been seeing electric SUVs being released but that’s probably more so down to the trend of SUV sales rather than anything else. Plus, a feature of EVs is to have the batteries along the floor to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible. It’s certainly something that both Jaguar and Tesla use in their EVs. Anyway, back to the topic on hand. From the perspective of Bentley, when they say they want to make a low car, they mean supercar low. The CEO believes that the new technology will ‘liberate’ car design in a way like never before. It will allow them to make both low and high riding cars because the higher power density of solid-state batteries means that air resistance can be overcome.
Above: Bentley's stylish EXP100 GT concept
The only hint of Bentley’s future plans comes in the form of the EXP 100 GT concept that debuted last year. The EXP looks quite different to their current cars and Bentley's CEO is certain that they are not even going to bother with retro fitting a petrol Bentley with batteries because of the loss in range that this brings with it and the design constraints. Instead, the main idea behind using the solid-state batteries is to create as much cabin space as possible, that is Bentley’s ultimate goal. They want to build a Bentley sized interior for the EV era. One would think that the Bentayga platform would offer the best of both worlds as far as Bentley sized space and room for batteries goes but we’re sure that the brand would have thought this through already.
Bentley’s parent company, VW has already stated that they plan to launch a solid-state battery line by 2025 and that would probably spur on Bentley’s creation of their first EV. BMW, GM, Hyundai and Toyota are the other large-scale automakers who are working on development of solid-state batteries.