Luxury car maker Bentley will completely transform its 100-year-old business from the world’s largest producer of the 12 cylinder engine to making only pure electric-powered vehicles from 2030.
Outlining its “Beyond100” strategy on Thursday (UK time), the iconic British marque confirmed the move as part of a goal to become carbon positive at its Crewe, UK, factory within the decade.
The transition to all-electric drivetrain technology will commence from 2023, after which Bentley will offer a hybrid variants for all its models, and from 2026 it will introduce only all-electric and plug-in hybrid models.
Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bentley Motors, said in a note to the press that, “Since 1919, Bentley has defined luxury grand touring. Being at the forefront of progress is part of our DNA – the original Bentley boys were pioneers and leaders.
“Now, as we look Beyond100, we will continue to lead by reinventing the company and becoming the world’s benchmark luxury car business.
“Driving this change includes, and also goes beyond our products, delivering a paradigm shift throughout our business, with credibility, authenticity, and integrity.
“Within a decade, Bentley will transform from a 100 year old luxury car company to a new, sustainable, wholly ethical role model for luxury.”
In 2021, Bentley will start its transformation with the release of two plug-in hybrid models.
It has already committed to sourcing 100% of its energy from renewable sources, having achieved “carbon neutral” certification according to an October announcement.
This includes 10,000 solar panels at its Crewe factory covering what is thought to be the UK’s largest solar car port, that produce 2.7 megawatts of energy to bring the site’s 30,000 total panel capacity to 7.7 megawatts.
Any further energy requirements are sourced through the purchase of certified green electricity, while further carbon emissions that cannot be reduced are offset with the purchase of Gold Standard carbon credits.
Bentley’s latest announcement also includes a commitment to go “plastic neutral”, although it did not elaborate how it would do this.
“By the end of this year, all suppliers will have passed a sustainability audit, verifying their sustainability credentials,” the company said in a statement.
“In the future, by the end of 2025, the company intends to reduce its factory environmental impact by focusing on energy consumption, CO2 emissions, waste water, use of solvents in the paint process and becoming plastic neutral.
“This will result in a climate positive factory by 2030, actively reducing levels of carbon in the atmosphere, while in parallel the business invests in renewable energy and forestation projects.”
Bentley says that its future models will also continue to use only sustainably-sourced materials, such as, “5,000-year-old copper-infused Riverwood, traditionally produced wool carpets and a leather-like textile upholstery made from a bi-product of wine-making.”
Powering its transition to zero emissions technologies, Bentley has undertaken a three-year research project codenamed “Octopus” (which it says stands for Optimised Components, Test and simulatiOn, toolkits for Powertrains which integrate Ultra high-speed motor Solutions) that seeks to develop an integrated permanent magnet motor “e-axle” that would do away with the need for rare-earth metals.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.