Bentley turns out the story is more complicated than it being a simple spin-off from Porsche’s Mission E project, with Frech saying that Bentley is also considering other powertrain options from elsewhere in Volkswagen Group.
“On the EV side, it’s more about what components are available and what is fitting best to the car we want,” he told us, “we will not copy the Mission E, we will do it in a typically Bentley way. The question we always ask is what is available in the group—it’s not only the Mission E, there are other possibilities around.”
When asked if the electric Bentley would be a standalone model or a variant of an existing car, Frech said, “Both are possible; we are prepared for both.” He also admitted that the majority of Bentley models are likely to have some electrical assistance within 10 years. “I don’t know what percentage of cars will be fully electric [by 2025], but we are prepared to meet market demand [and] be sure that we are looking not only for one solution but for many.”
French said that the first EV model was more likely to be one aimed at those seeking to be chauffeured rather than drive themselves, which would make sense given the impending arrival of so-called zero-emissions zones in various European and Asian cities. “But for us, the important question is also how you can emotionalize such a car,” he said. “Going on the [accelerator], you will have the feeling of the torque, but no other response. We have to make sure it is emotional, it has the appeal. That even in the future it will still be a great experience to drive a Bentley.”