Bentley is most excellent known as makers of hyper-luxurious land yachts packed with a herd-load of artisanal cowhides and a forest worth of rare wood. So, not what you’d consider — green. But that doesn’t mean Bentley’s boffins can’t grasp some additional efficiency out of the engine, and that’s where its first ever hybrid drive train comes in.
Using the 5,976-pound Mulsanne sedan as its base, Bentley created a plug-in hybrid concept that packs the same 6.75-liter V8, but uses an electric motor and battery to boost power by 25 percent and reduce emissions by a claimed 70 percent.
Bentley hybrid isn’t disclosing how much power the electric motor puts out or the size of the (assumed) lithium-ion battery pack. But considering the V8 outputs 505 horsepower, some back of the napkin math puts total power at 631 hp, with the electric motor juicing things up by 126 hp.
But what’s more incredible are the reduction in emissions. The standard Mulsanne exhales 393 grams of CO2 per kilometer. Reducing that by 70 percent nets 118g/km–about the same as a European market Mini Cooper. Diesel.
Helping that insanely low emissions number is Bentley’s claim that the Mulsanne Hybrid can drive for 31 miles on electric power alone before that big V8 kicks into keep things rolling. To provide that much range on a vehicle weighing the better part of three tons means Bentley has a big battery, likely supplied by its corporate parents at Volkswagen.
The Mulsanne Hybrid is just a concept, primarily meant to showcase the drivetrain that will be fitted to the automaker’s first SUV, due out in 2017. But that even bigger Bentley won’t be the only hybrid in the automaker’s stable.
According to Bentley head Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber, “By the end of the decade, at least 90 percent of our production will be available as a plug-in hybrid.”
This post is originally posted here.