It will lead to Bentley's first all electric car.

Bentley Motors has revealed a groundbreaking three-year research study that could be a gamechanger for electric vehicle drivetrains.

The study, dubbed 'OCTOPUS' (Optimised Components, Test and simulatiOn, toolkits for Powertrains which integrate Ultra high-speed motor Solutions), followed an initial 18-month investigation into electric drive systems for high performance vehicles. The latest study is intended to help in the development of the first all-electric Bentley, which is set to arrive by 2026.

The OCTOPUS development exceeded the latest permanent magnet motor performance and also negated the need for both rare-earth magnets and copper windings, making it both cost-effective and recyclable.

From here, next generation materials and manufacturer and simulation processes will be added to the motor, power electronics and packaging transmission design in order for Bentley to deliver a full e-axle powertrain within the next six years.

Bentley OCTOPUS e-axle

"We have made no secret of our ambition to lead the way in the delivery of sustainable luxury mobility, Beyond100," said Stefan Fischer, Bentley's director of powertrain engineering. "We have a clear roadmap to offer a hybrid option for every model by 2023, starting with the Bentayga Hybrid, and our next goal moves towards a fully electric Bentley by 2026.

"However today, there remains challenges and package constraints on the viability and flexibility of electric vehicle powertrains that are able to fully support EV architectures.

"With the industry, technologies and cars changing faster than ever before, research projects such as OCTOPUS are crucial to deliver innovative technologies and overcome challenges for the next generation of mobility solutions."

OCTOPUS is in partnership with Innovate UK and is an OLEV funded project.

"The IDP Programme is playing a significant part in the UK’s push to net zero carbon by providing support for the development of ground-breaking zero emission technologies," said Francesca Iudicello, programme manager for low and zero emission vehicles at Innovate UK. "The APEX and OCTOPUS projects are an outstanding example of how the partnership between a UK SME and a global OEM can continue through the different development stage of motor drives, which puts UK innovation at the forefront of the high performance PEMDs market worldwide."