Bentley Motors’ EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept Drophead Debuted
Bentley Motors debuted the EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept Drophead, production could happen as early as Y 2021.
The Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e Concept was designed to explore Bentley’s producing a EV for production; it’s a separate endeavor from the recently promised plug-in hybrid Bentayga SUV, which is due out in Y 2018.
If it is received well by VIP guests and analysts at future car circuit stops in Shanghai and Pebble Beach, California, the EV Drophead could lead to an EV from Bentley by Y 2021. The show car is a drivable 1-Off, but not for consumer demonstrations.
“This will give us a very good indication of where we are,” Wolfgang Dürheimer, the chairman and chief executive officer of Bentley Motors, said during an interview in Geneva. “Do we need it? Or are we okay to still have combustion engines and hybrids, that’s it? This is what we want to find out.
“We want to send a clear message: ‘If we do it, this is what it would look like.’ EVs don’t necessarily need to look like a refrigerator. They can appeal. They can be sexy. They can be emotional.”
Most notable, at first glance, is the open-pore leather that covers the cabin and rear bank of the car. The oxblood patina looks so juicy and rare, it might as well be tartare; it contrasts beautifully with the stark white exterior. The front hood is split into two air vents and has “crystal cut” round LED headlights and a massive lattice-style Bentley front grille done in silver and rubbed copper. When the car starts, a White “6e” symbol illuminates beneath the mesh of the grille.
There is a general old/new mix to the two-seater, Bentley’s head of design, Stefan Sielaff, said of the aesthetic strategy during an interview in Geneva. For instance, two tiny, round cameras placed where side mirrors typically would be are far advanced over typical cars—but were designed to look like vintage stealth-aircraft fuselages. And the round bulls-eye air vents along the front dash are stubbornly manual, even though they sit above a panel of touchscreen dashboard buttons that let the passenger adjust comfort and entertainment settings.
There are also two buttons at the glass top of the lopped-off, crescent-shaped steering wheel: one you push to boost the car’s performance and second you push to limit it for safety in unpredictable driving conditions. At the center of the car, a solid piece of curved glass forms a high-definition OLED screen that controls navigation, entertainment, and climate control.
Bentley is not releasing information about the range, size, or capabilities of the motor (yet), but from this marque we can always expect high performance. Representatives did say it would use both rapid inductive charging for a cable-less experience and an AC power supply through an outlet in the back (hidden under the license plate) as a backup. The 12-speed also has connected, on-board concierge services directly from Bentley Motors.
In the event that production does begin, it’s likely that an all-electric Bentley would reach China 1st. It’s here that the dual forces of wealth and environmental concerns are meeting.
“We forecast that some metropolitan areas around the world will need to change dramatically; otherwise the air quality is just not acceptable any more, and this applies to Shanghai and Beijing,” Mr. Dürheimer said, adding that similar effects in London, Paris, and Los Angeles may also apply. “There will be large areas around the globe where they don’t need to bother with EVs … but what we forecast is: We could have specific hotspots where things change dramatically, and either you have an answer for this or you might be out of the market.”
“We don’t want our people who love luxury and love Bentley to change to a different brand and not use their Bentleys anymore,” Mr. Dürheimer continued. “We want to let people know, in case you want electric power from Bentley, this is what we are making.”
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My comment: Whirrrr & Hummm!
Bentley Motors is a unit of Volkswagen AG (OTCMKT:VLKAY)
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