DETROIT -- It's a scenario scary enough to give any chauffeur the sweats: You're en route to pick up your boss who's headed to a crucial meeting -- or date -- and the all-electric ultraluxury sedan you're driving doesn't have enough juice to get there.
Forget range anxiety. That's job anxiety.
Bentley uses the scenario to explain its preference for plug-in hybrids as an alternative-fuel strategy -- even for the long term -- over electric vehicles. Enough of its customers throughout the world use a driver with their Bentley that the automaker sees no need to bother with the hurdles EVs today can present.
Bentley announced at the Automotive News World Congress last week that all Bentley models will have a PHEV variant.
"PHEV sometimes is mentioned as a transitional technology -- it will be out of our way pretty soon," Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer told the crowd. "From my point of view, plug-in hybrid technology provides the best of two worlds."
The first advantage is that a PHEV can be used in electric-only mode, allowing access to city centers around the world that are considering banning or limiting the use of emitting vehicles.
Second, a PHEV allows users to travel over long distances without long recharging breaks, something not possible in a pure electric vehicle.
Bentley has already announced that its recently launched Bentayga ultraluxury crossover will get a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which is expected in 2018. It will join the regular Bentayga's twin-turbo W-12 engine and a V-8 turbo diesel model not available in the U.S.
The next-generation Continental GT will be the next Bentley model to get a PHEV option, Durheimer told Automotive News after his speech. It will debut after the initial model premiers with its W-12 internal combustion engine and before the GT debuts with a V-8.
The PHEV GT will use a V-6 engine from the VW corporate parts bin, as well as electric motors, battery systems, plug-in hybrid controllers and wiring systems, Durheimer said. The engine's power output is expected to match that of the V-8 (which makes 500 hp in the current Continental GT).
Future versions of the Flying Spur sedan and the Mulsanne sedan will also get PHEV iterations.