Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Bentley Bentayga plug-in hybrid revealed – but can this two-tonne luxury 4x4 ever be 'green'?

Bentley Bentayga plug-in hybrid SUV

Yes, that's a Bentley Bentayga hooked up to an electric car charging point. And no, it's not an early April fool. Because at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this week, Bentley has announced a plug-in hybrid version of its ultra-luxurious SUV.

A few years ago this would have seemed like a joke. Why would any manufacturer put a plug-in hybrid powertrain in a car that weighs around 2.5 metric tonnes? Well, due to the unique way in which we look at the environmental impact of an automobile, and the regulatory framework around emissions, a plug-in hybrid version of the car now makes sense.
And let's face it, if you're going to waft around in this sort of machine, you might as well do it in total silence. Bentley claims an all-electric range of 50km, which means you could nip to the shop or out for lunch without burning any fuel. When you get home, you can charge the car up in just two-and-a-half hours. We'll put this to the test when we borrow a Bentley Bentayga Hybrid later in the year, but in principle we like the idea of an electric range on a luxury SUV.
Plus, this new car emits 75g of CO2 per km. That sounds pretty optimistic, and will depend a lot on how heavy your right foot is, but that's still a pretty incredible figure for a car that weighs as much as a container ship. 
At first glance the new Bentley Bentayga hybrid might seem absurd, but a combination of factors including a changing regulatory landscape, a real appetite for high-end cars with lower emissions at the tailpipe, and a growing expectation of manufacturers to build a hybrid version of all their cars means that now, in 2018, a Bentayga with a battery makes sense.

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