While hybrids do tend to be a little more expensive than your average combustion-driven vehicle (upfront, at least), most people don’t think of them as luxury cars. True luxury cars aren’t exactly heralded for their fuel efficiency — after all, if you’re wealthy enough to drop $450,000 on a Rolls-Royce Phantom, you probably aren’t terribly concerned with getting lots of miles to your gallon.
However, in the interest of efficiency and eco-friendliness, Bentley is hoping to change the luxury vehicle’s reputation as a wasteful, unnecessary fuelhog — without compromising the integrity of its brand. That means the company will offer all the bells and whistles its customers expect — leather and wood interior, backseat champagne cooler, caviar hose (we assume) — with a little bit of green tech under the hood.
Bentley plans to introduce a new SUV featuring plug-in hybrid technology by 2017. In the meantime, it plans to show off its new hybrid tech at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, where it will unveil a plug-in hybrid concept car based on its Mulsanne design.
The plug-in tech promises to increase power by 25 percent and decrease CO2 emissions by 75 percent. Drivers should be able to cruise on nothing but electric power for up to 50km — perfect for having one’s chauffeur drive one to the fancy gala across town.
And Bentley doesn’t plan to stop there. In a press release, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley Motors Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber had this to say:
“There is no doubt that plug-in hybrid technology is true to Bentley’s values of outstanding luxury and effortless performance. Combining our renowned engines with electric power reinforces and enhances both principles, and so we will gradually introduce this powertrain across our model range. By the end of the decade, at least 90% of our production will be available as a plug-in hybrid. We are proud to be pioneering these developments in the luxury sector.”
Way to go, Bentley. We’re interested to see how green tech looks in the luxury sector.