Bentley is considering whether or not they should offer an electric powertrain for their flagship sedan, the Mulsanne. Hans Holzgartner, product and marketing manager for the Mulsanne told Autocar part of the reason for this comes down to Chinese lawmakers possibly passing legislation banning all vehicles except EVs in certain cities.
“At the moment, the indication is that full electric will be the only way that you’ll get into some of the cities in China. I wouldn’t say we’re discounting [hybrid engines] completely, but it looks like if you don’t have a full electric drive, even some of the hybrid drives just won’t get into some cities in China,” said Holzgartner.
Similar legislation is being considered in other European countries, causing Bentley to put the idea of electric powertrains as a possible high priority item.
But why the Mulsanne? Why not one of their small and 'lighter' models? Holzgartner explained that adding an electric powertrain into the Mulsanne would improve some of the key traits such providing a quiet ride.
“With a Mulsanne-sized car, it’s all about torque anyway,” he added. “The delivery characteristics of electric drive — loads of bottom-end torque, almost silent delivery, very smooth — they all fit," said Holzhartner.
“Our challenge is to make something that’s as interesting to drive as a current Bentley, because while a Mulsanne will be driven in almost silent mode even with a petrol engine, if you’ve got a Mulsanne Speed you’ll want to let rip every so often. That’s going to be the challenge: creating something that can be fun as well.”