• Oct 7th 2009 at 8:54AM
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Bentley Continental Supersports - Click above for high-res image gallery

Bentley is on a mission to lower fuel consumption and carbon emissions. According to Auto Express, once the firm's Continental Supersports hits the market (and, we may add, after it actually becomes flex-fuel capable), the next step in the green train may very well be hybrids.

To reach that conclusion, AE uses the process of elimination. Here's the reasoning: diesels don't historically sell well here in the United States, Bentley's largest market, so an oil-burner is out. Bentley has reportedly already ruled out hydrogen fuel cells, which aren't expected to make any sort of dent in the marketplace at all until about 2015. That leaves biofuels and hybrids, which the automaker is already rumored to be testing.

If there's any truth to the report, its possible that the next Continental for the 2011 model year will feature a flex-fuel hybrid powertrain and a relatively lightweight aluminum body to reduce carbon emissions from today's 396 g/km to less than 225 g/km. Not amazing or anything, but certainly moving in the right direction.

[Source: Auto Express]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Doesn't that also leave BEVs? Several luxury car-makers seem to be putting their money on that horse...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have a hard time with the Bentley's dismissal of diesel. There isn't really a basis for the decision that diesels don't sell. VW's diesels are selling like hotcakes. BMW and Mercedes diesels are low-volume models and have a price premium attached. No one has sold a superluxury vehicle with a diesel engine. And at that price point you are buying the brand, regardless of what powers it. Bentley wouldn't lose any customers to Rolls-Royce or Maybach just because of the diesel engine. Those buyers rarely cross-shop brands.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It seems presumptions for Bentley to outright dismiss one technology and exclusively embrace another, especially when the one dismissed is growing by leaps and bounds. A more prudent course may have been to utilize both.

      Hydrogen which Bentley passed has almost incomprehensible potential, both as an energy storage medium as well as an outright fuel. On the other hand, it is hard to ignore the energy savings from batteries. The two technologies, however, are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can complement each other, and may give us the best both worlds.

      Here is comment on this made elsewhere:

      In scrapping its faithful battery powered forklifts for hydrogen ones, Coke said last month that this will free up room in its warehouses that was used for parking the lifts while they were being charged. See http://www.upi.com/Business_News/2009/10/01/Plug-says-Coke-plant-adding-hydrogen-lifts/UPI-15021254416125/

      Businesswise, Coke thought it made more sense to have fewer forklifts that could be quickly refilled with hydrogen, than have another fleet of battery lifts to use while the spent ones got charged.

      The point here is that if charging forklifts is a hassle in the sheltered and orderly environment of a warehouse, why do we expect it to be a cinch for road cars where desperate charging facilities, weather, and the vicissitudes of life are compounding variables?

      It is undeniable, however, that electric vehicles are cheaper to operate than either hydrogen or gasoline on short trips. For the longer trips they can use small internal combustion engine, as is the case of the GM Volt. Under the same thinking, however, why not use a tank of hydrogen. This would mean having fuel cell onboard to turn the hydrogen into electricity. So why not just go with hydrogen, all together.

      The answer again is that a battery car is much cheaper to operate, at least for now. Why not take advantage of this by using our homes to charge the car at night when rates are low, and have the hydrogen onboard for the longer trips. Indeed, with the advent of natural gas generators, we may even be able to top off the hydrogen tank at home before we hit the road.

      The hydrogen folks and the battery folks have been so busy extolling their positives and amplifying the others’ negatives, that they overlooked all they have in common. Aside from their shared goal to use clean energy, the cars themselves that they advocate are similar. For example, both hydrogen and battery cars are propelled by electric motors, both use super capacitors for acceleration, both use high performance batteries for short term storage, both use power regeneration from backing, and both use computer programmed controllers for power management, switching and system housekeeping. The difference is that battery cars use an array of batteries for electricity, while hydrogen cars use a fuel cell for electricity.

      This being the primary difference then, why not have both systems onboard in the same car and take advantage of the cheaper running cost of batteries and the quick hydrogen refill time of fuel cells. The costs of both systems may seem prohibitive at the outset, but a joint effort to merge the two should at least bring people together to work on their common goal of clean energy. Who knows, they might succeed and make life on this earth better for all of us, as well as for our children and our grandchildren.

      -- George Kafantaris
        • 5 Years Ago
        ER-EVs with fuel cell range extenders. That's my vote.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It is quite a tacky car, but if they can turn it into a PHEV then they would raise their standing somewhat.
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