Bentley is launching a Hybrid Concept that is a precursor to the brand's first plug-in hybrid model, which is expected to launch in 2017. The luxury carmaker plans to showcase the new concept at the upcoming 2014 Beijing Auto Show.
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The Hybrid Concept, which is based on Bentley's flagship Mulsanne model, is a first look at a whole new lineup of hybrid SUVs, Edmunds.com reported. Bentley will likely launch new plug-in hybrid editions of the Continental GT, Flying Spur and Mulsanne in the near future.
"We will gradually introduce this powertrain across our model range," Bentley CEO Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber, said in a statement quoted by Edmunds. "By the end of the decade, at least 90 percent of our production will be available as a plug-in hybrid."
Copper is a focal point on the new Hybrid Concept to "highlight the car's electrical veins," Bentley said. Touches include copper trim on the headlights and brake calipers as well as copper cross-stitching inside the cabin and touches on the instrument panel.
The carmaker hasn't released any technical specifications yet, but the plug-in hybrid system should increase vehicle power by around 25 percent, while reducing CO2 emissions by as much as 70 percent.
The upcoming hybrid models are expected to have a battery range of at least 31 miles solely on electric charge. In the new concept, "hybrid technology enhances even the pinnacle of luxury and performance," Bentley said in a statement quoted by Edmunds.
Adding plug-in hybrids to its lineup could make the luxury brand a more environmentally friendly option. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ranked the 2014 Bentley Mulsanne and Continental among the "Least Fuel Efficient" vehicles available that model year. The Mulsanne offers 11 miles per gallon for city driving and 18 mpg on the highway with an annual fuel cost of $4,500, according to the EPA website.