The Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e – luxury gets electric – Wired.co.uk
One of the most interesting concept cars from the 2017 Geneva Motor Show was the all-electric EXP 12 Speed 6e by Bentley, a convertible update of the hard-top teased last year at the automotive event.
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The EXP 12 Speed 6e has a “high-performance” electric powertrain with a potential range of 310 miles. Bentley also specs rapid inductive charging and “state-of-the-art, on-board concierge-style services” available at the push of a button, or rather the tap of a screen.
Speaking of screens, the interior central console is one solid section of curved glass leading up to a high-definition OLED display. Handmade, cut-glass sections on the steering wheel contain controls for media, communications, navigation and car set-up.
WIRED’s favourite feature is one button at the top of the cut-away steering wheel. This button, with a whimsical “rocket” illustration, instantly boosts performance. Passengers have their own control panel on the front fascia to access social media, email and entertainment.
As a nod to the electrical elements of the concept car, copper elements are incorporated in the design throughout, including around the gear selector, Bentley Dynamic Drive dial and in the veneer door panels. The copper motif continues on the sweeping exterior design, too, crafted by John Paul Gregory, Bentley’s head of exterior design.
As electric cars do not need a traditional cooling grille at the front, some manufacturers have dispensed with vents, but the result can look a little strange – we’re thinking Tesla here – but Bentley has decided to retain the grille, adding a 3D geometric design and copper highlights. To make an additional feature of this now redundant space, when the car is running the “6e” logo illuminates from behind the grille.
Twin bonnet scoops act as heat sinks that supply additional cooling to the battery and powertrain, and the wing mirrors are replaced with cameras. Thanks to that rapid inductive charging, this electric Bentley would, in theory, be able to drive between London and Paris or Milan and Monaco on a single charge.
Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, said: “Bentley is committed to offering an electric model in its future portfolio and we are interested to receive feedback on this concept.”
While the EXP 12 Speed 6e has not been confirmed for production, an electric Bentley will be coming next year in the form of the Bentayga plug-in hybrid.