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Bentley originally intended to introduce its first purely electric model in 2025 but that’s not happening anymore. CEO Adrian Hallmark told Automotive News Europe the EV has been delayed by a year because of technical problems caused by software issues as well as “platform-related concerns.” Crewe’s inaugural EV is now expected to break cover near the end of 2026 but customer deliveries won’t start until 2027.

Separately, Autocar has learned Bentley is also pushing back its goal to become entirely electric by the end of the decade. According to the new agenda, the ultra-luxury British marque wants to completely get rid of gasoline cars by 2033. The three-year delay will allow the company to invest more in plug-in hybrids to provide a smoother transition to an EV-only lineup early into the next decade.

The inaugural EV is going to be manufactured at home in the UK and will be underpinned by the Premium Platform Electric co-developed by Porsche and Audi. The first PPE-based models have been recently revealed as the second-generation Macan in January and the Q6 E-Tron earlier this week. While all three brands sit underneath the Volkswagen Group umbrella, Audi technically owns Bentley (as well as Lamborghini and Ducati) since 2022.

The decision to delay the EV shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the Macan and Q6 E-Tron were also supposed to come out sooner per the original announcements. Before the first zero-emission model arrives, Bentley is preparing to launch a high-performance plug-in hybrid setup based around a V8. It’ll indirectly replace the venerable W12, which is sadly going away with the 740-horsepower Batur.

The company’s head honcho admits Bentley had estimated demand for hybrids would decrease closer to the end of the decade, but it’s now expected to rise. Consequently, the high-end automaker is pouring “hundreds of millions” into a new wave of PHEVs that’ll remain on sale early into the next decade to meet demand.

We’ll be seeing that punchy V8 PHEV setup in the GT, GTC, and Flying Spur later in 2024. The current V6 PHEV is staying while the Bentayga will retain its pure gasoline powertrain until 2026 when the posh SUV is set to become electric-only.

The now-delayed EV won’t replace an existing model as it’ll be a completely different product. When it does arrive, it’s getting a hotter Speed version touted as “the W12 of batteries” with electric motors developed to deliver 50 to 100 percent more power than ICEs. For now, the most potent model on this PPE platform is the Porsche Macan Turbo with 630 hp and 833 lb-ft (1,130 Nm) of torque.

The batteries that will go inside Bentley’s first EV will have enough juice for 350 to 450 miles (563 to 724 kilometers) on a single charge, according to a statement made last year by Hallmark. It’ll take less than 20 minutes to replenish the battery from 10 to 80 percent.

For the time being, the Bentayga is the undisputed sales king with a 44-percent share of the total volume in 2023. The Continental GT/GTC is next with 31 percent while the Flying Spur occupies the last spot on the podium with a 25-percent share. In 2023, total deliveries dropped by 11 percent to 13,560 units.

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