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Bentley goes electric

EXP 12 Speed 6e. Source: Bentley

Bentley unveils high-end, all-electric concept car for Geneva Motor Show

With many electric cars occupying the “luxury” price bracket, the opportunities for established luxury and high-performance brands are greater than most. It is therefore with little surprise, but yet much excitement, that Bentley Motors released news of its latest offering: the EXP 12 Speed 6e concept.

Ahead of its display at the Geneva Motor Show, Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley chairman and chief executive said: “The EXP 12 Speed 6e is a concept to show that Bentley is defining electric motoring in the luxury sector, with the appropriate technology, high quality materials and refinement levels you’d expect from a true Bentley. This concept enables us to engage with luxury customers and gather feedback on our approach.”

As with many concept cars, much is promised of the model. The company’s press release, for example, says that:

“Renowned Bentley characteristics such as immediate, effortless surge of torque and grand touring range will be combined with new high performance technology such as rapid inductive charging and state-of-the-art on board concierge-style services.”

An electric Bentley would, the company says, be able to drive between London and Paris or Milan and Monaco on a single charge with an “enhanced on board experience” thanks to integrated technology and the suggestion of a suite of apps. Cameras in place of wing mirrors also reflect the increasing use of digital and connected technologies in EVs and ICEs alike.

On range, Paris to London (about 450 km, or 280 miles) is actually an eminently achievable battery target – although rapid inductive charging remains a few years from widespread commercial deployment.

That said, the auxiliary charging point, concealed behind the rear number plate is a nice touch.


EXP 12 Speed 6e - Interior Driver's Eye View

EXP 12 Speed 6e – Interior Driver’s Eye View


Great EXPectations

Other features point to the changing lifestyles of EV drivers. Two buttons on the top of the cut-away steering wheel, for example, offer either an instant performance boost or the ability to limit speed –useful for switching between urban cruising and motorway performance.

When the car is running the ‘6e’ logo also illuminates white – another nice touch.

As well as conveying price and performance, the design also apparently serves a mechanical purchase. According to Bentley, the twin bonnet scoops act as heat sinks that supply additional cooling to the battery and powertrain.

It is unlikely that the EXP will emerge fully formed as the company’s first EV. So far, it has only committed to the introduction of plug-in hybrid models across the Bentley range over the next few years, starting with the Bentayga in 2018.

However, Dürheimer concluded that: “Bentley is committed to offering an electric model in its future portfolio and we are interested to receive feedback on this concept.” If feedback on the luxury copper fittings and red leather interior is positive, maybe we might see something resembling an EXP on the roads sooner rather than later.



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