DETROIT -- Bentley Motors plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid version of every model in its lineup in the next few years, giving the ultraluxury automaker crucially wider fuel options as global emission standards -- particularly in wealthy city centers -- grow tighter.
Speaking to the 2017 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer said that while many manufacturers see plug-in hybrids as a temporary bridge technology until all-electric or fuel cell models are viable, that's not the case for Bentley.
"PHEV sometimes is mentioned as a transitional technology -- it will be out of our way pretty soon," Duerheimer said. "From my point of view, plug-in hybrid technology provides the best of two worlds."
First, a plug-in hybrid model allows Bentley owners to use their vehicles in city centers where diesel- or gasoline-burning powertrains might be restricted, something under consideration in several cities abroad. Second, many Bentley owners use their vehicles for long, uninterrupted trips, something not yet possible in a pure electric vehicle without extended recharging stops.
"To cover long distances and to make it from one city to another -- and you travel long distances in the U.S. -- I think the combustion engine will follow us for a long time," Duerheimer said.
Bentley has said that its Bentayga crossover will get a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which is expected in 2018.
The next-generation Continental GT will be the next Bentley model to get a plug-in hybrid option, Duerheimer told Automotive News after his speech. It will debut after the initial model premieres with its W-12 internal combustion engine -- expected sometime this year -- and before the model debuts with a V-8.
The GT plug-in hybrid will use a V-6 engine, and its power output will match that of the V-8 (which currently makes 500 hp), Duerheimer said.