Bentley is ‘in a rush’ to build the electric car its customers want but says the battery technology required to do it properly is still quite a long way off.
The firm’s chief executive, Adrian Hallmark, compared existing technology to “buying a battery that could only power a light bulb to half its capacity”, suggesting that if the vehicle had adequate range it would be too heavy, but if the weight was acceptable the car couldn’t travel far enough on a charge.
According to Autocar, Hallmark pointed to customer surveys that showed the brand’s customers were much more receptive to EVs than any of their rivals. Meanwhile, customer clinic data showed a recent concept’s desirability would have been higher if it had been a pure EV.
Speaking at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, he said: “Let me be clear – I am in a rush to build an electric Bentley.
“As a brand we should be at the forefront, and it is clear that there is absolute demand from certain customers for it – including a new target group of customers who want it, not just to comply with regulations but because it is desirable to them.
“But the issue is whether we can build a car that meets our values – and today we cannot. The conundrum is getting enough battery power density, getting the battery control modules as efficient as possible and then creating a car that delivers the required aero, rolling resistance and other parameters to be as efficient as possible.
“We are wrestling with multiple dimensions and it is my belief – and it is an informed estimate not a defined goal – that we will have the capability of building a car with the high performance and high range capabilities that our customers expect by around 2025.”
Hallmark stated that an electric Bentley must have an electric range of at least 400 miles, equivalent to a traditional internal combustion engine’s fuel tank, and said charging infrastructure must also improve.