Autocar confidential: Bentley’s plans for electrification, Mercedes plans upmarket EV and more

In this week’s round-up of motoring murmurs, we learn more about what form Bentley’s first EV could take, what Chinese brand Aiways has planned for Europe beyond the U5 electric SUV and more…

Merc’s no budget brand

Mercedes-Benz powertrain strategy boss Claus Ehlers said making electric cars more affordable is a key part of building their market appeal. But he added: “Mercedes is a luxury brand and we have a mindset for technology that fits the brand which is not necessarily low cost. But it needs to be cost-efficient for what you get.”

Bentley eyes batteries

Bentley is looking to launch its first electric model by 2025, according to CEO Adrian Hallmark. The firm is undecided about whether a battery electric Bentley should be an entirely new model (possibly a sub-Bentayga SUV) or an adaptation of an existing model. Anticipated developments in battery efficiency will suit its bigger, heavier models.

Aiways moving forward

Chinese start-up Aiways is looking to increase its offering of Europe-destined SUVs beyond the U5 Ion, according to product strategy boss Alexander Klose. “We have a schedule that will deliver one new model per year. We are looking at other SUVs – smaller and larger,” he said.

Volvo says bye to buying

Volvo’s Europe boss Lex Kerssemakers has described the future of the car industry as “cake being cut into a number of smaller pieces”. Rather than just straight car ownership, there will also be subscription services such as its Care By Volvo, plus other offerings such as short-term rentals, a service that Volvo is set to launch later this year. “We need to offer different models for different needs of different customers,” he said.

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