More and more big-name car makers are transitioning to electric, and the latest addition to the family is Bentley.
The luxury automaker has just announced plans for its first all-electric vehicle, an SUV, which it plans to release by 2025. What’s more the company intends to use Audi’s Project Artemis chassis as a starting point.
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With more and more governments finalizing deadlines for the sale of the traditional gas-powered car, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing a much larger focus on electric vehicles. And according to CEO Adrian Hallmark “2025 is the right time for [Bentley]” to launch its electric SUV.
Details on the car are still few and far between, though according to CAR magazine this will be the start of Bentley’s full EV range. In fact the plan is to phase internal combustion engines out by the end of this decade, which just happens to be the point where world governments are going to start restricting the sale of those cars.
Hallmark revealed to the publication that weight is a concern for Bentley. But with the “rapid evolution of battery power density," Bentley hopes to be able to produce a car that’s both light and aerodynamic. Hallmark noted that the car would have to be built differently, working the design around the battery rather than starting with the semi-final design and working backwards.
The use of Audi’s Project Artemis, which is expected to be ready in 2024, also gives us a few clues on what to expect. The platform is expected to involve Level 2 autonomous driving tech, which can control steering and acceleration, but still falls considerably short of full Level 5 driver-less autonomy.
Artemis is also designed around building larger electric vehicles, rather than the smaller offerings currently available to Audi and Bentley’s parent company Volkswagen. Hallmark told CAR that “if you’re not in SUVs, you’re nowhere." So a system capable of building larger cars is exactly the kind of thing Bentley is going to need access to in the future.
Unfortunately would-be EV owners don’t need to wait four plus years to enjoy some electrified Bentley action. The company has previously announced that it will be producing plug-in hybrid variants of all its cars by 2023, with the goal of scrapping the gas-only option by 2026. Meanwhile a Flying Spur plug-in hybrid variant is expected to arrive sometime this year.
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