Bentley blitzes the electric charging dock market

Bentley blitzes the electric charging dock market

ONE of the biggest problems electric car drivers are going to have for some time in a country as big as Australia is the lack of charging capabilities for their cars. Telsa is working hard to get around this by partnering with fuel stations, restaurants and other public places on major road arteries or popular driving routes to expand its recharge and supercharge networks. But those charging stations are designed for Teslas alone. And none of the other car manufacturers have yet made adequate investments in rolling out across the country a comparably broad recharge capability of their own. 

If you’re staying local, you can always recharge at your home provided you’re mindful of how lengthy this process can be and plan for it. Some apartment dwellers, however, have decided against purchasing a hybrid after their building's body corporate turned down requests to install a charging station on site. Perhaps the outcomes would have been happier for all involved if the buildings in question were presented with something as good-looking and energy-efficient as Bentley’s new Starck Power Dock. That's assuming you bought the car which fits it, of course, which, in this case, would be the new Bentayga Hybrid sports utility vehicle.

The hybrid version of the luxury British marque’s impressive SUV marks the brand's first foray into electric autos. Bentley invited renowned French designer Philippe Starck to blend tactile surfaces and his signature aesthetic in creating the unique and smart recharging unit for Bentayga Hybrid customers. The result is crafted from sustainable and technological materials - the surround is made of pressed eco-linen with bio-sourced thermosetting resin, while the domed frontage has been shaped using a hot-pressure aluminium casting.

'You don’t like a Bentley, you love it,' Starck says. 'The relationship with a Bentley is not about bio-design or horsepower, it’s a mental and sentimental relationship.'

While Starck’s Power Dock concept is designed to keep charging cables are kept neat and safe at home, surely residents of the more modern apartments going up these days might appreciate what's effectively a functional piece of art in their garages. 

Starck himself has been a frequent Bentley customer and describes his relationship with his cars as something of “a love story”. 

“You don’t like a Bentley, you love it," Starck says. "The relationship with a Bentley is not about bio-design or horsepower, it’s a mental and sentimental relationship."

Since he started designing in the 1980s, Starck's iconic touch has expanded from lemon squeezers and aircraft amenities kits to mega-yachts and hotels. He's renown for pushing the boundaries and criteria of contemporary design, and has maintained an environmental ethos respectful of the materials he uses and their impact on the world around him, Bentley says in a statement. He's already designed electric cars, bikes and bicycles so this made him the perfect fit for Bentley's shift into the space.

“As always with my designs I wanted the maximum of intelligence with the minimum of materiality," he says of his approach to the Starck Power Dock. "I wanted it to be a modern art piece: durable, real and avant-garde high-tech. It was also important for me that the unit was as sustainable as possible.”

The incoming Bentayga Hybrid model is Bentley’s first step towards full electrification, combining an advanced electric motor with a powerful and efficient new-generation V6 petrol engine. Bentley says its hybrid version of the SUV will be its most efficient model ever, and its first with CO2 emissions of 75 g/km. Despite its hybrid nature, it claims the vehicle will still feel and ride like a true Bentley, providing the refinement, performance and tranquil cabin environment for which the brand is famed. 

The Bentayga Hybrid will head to the US and UK in the first phase of its roll-ot, and the timing and pricing of it for the Australian market is yet to be confirmed. Australia's tyranny of distance is clearly a bit too much to justify it at this early stage.