Bentley is embracing electricity. The British brand will oversee the introduction of a plug-in-hybrid variant of its Bentayga SUV sometime next year, with other models to follow. Plug-in hybrids, though, are merely a stepping stone to all-out electrification, something the brand has discussed with us a couple of times previously. The British firm’s latest concept car, the EXP 12 Speed 6e, is a showcase for what an all-electric car wearing the Flying B might be like.
The Speed 6e is essentially a droptop variant of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept shown two years ago, but details on its powertrain are scant. Bentley does note that an “electric Bentley would be able to drive between . . . Milan and Monaco on a single charge,” a travel distance of a little less than 200 miles. Charging is done via a plug-in port hidden behind the rear license plate, although Bentley says the car also can be charged via wireless induction.
The brand proved far more forthcoming in discussing the roadster concept’s gimmicks, though, including a pair of cameras in place of side mirrors, an illuminated 6e logo within the grille, and a steering wheel that appears to be plucked right out of Adam West’s Batmobile. The wheel features two buttons at the top of its spokes, with one activating a performance boost (think something like the push-to-pass function on a race car) and the other limiting vehicle speed, presumably to make the most of the electric vehicle’s available range. Additionally, the Speed 6e comes equipped with an OLED touchscreen infotainment system and copper accents throughout its wood and leather-lined interior, features we anticipate the production vehicle will offer.
Whether something like the Speed 6e reaches production remains to be seen; we’d heard the first Bentley EV may be a practical sedan in order to widen its appeal (and to provide more room for packaging the electric hardware, we imagine). Nevertheless, the EXP 12 Speed 6e concept signals the beginning of a new era at Bentley, and we’re interested in seeing where it takes the brand.