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Bentley is not exactly a company known for its environmental credentials. Sure, it recently cut its water usage down by over a third, and given the relatively small number of vehicles it produces, the British firm's overall impact on the environment may be negligible compared to mass-market rivals. And of course, its affluent customers are hardly likely to feel the pinch of rising fuel costs, so Bentley's idea of engine downsizing has been going from twelve cylinders to eight.

That will all change with the launch of its first SUV, previewed by the controversial EXP 9 F concept and expected to be called Falcon. To hear Auto Express tell it, the luxo-ute is being designed from the get-go to incorporate a plug-in hybrid powertrain, slated to go on sale a year after the conventional version arrives late in 2015 or early 2016. But that's just the tip of the iceberg which Bentley is trying to help keep from melting.

Following the Falcon, other Bentleys are slated to get PHEV systems as well. It'll just take a while. That's because current models like the Continental and Mulsanne were never designed to incorporate PHEV powertrain systems in the first place. So while they may get them in the long run, their integration will likely have to wait until their replacements arrive.

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