Bentley is perhaps the foremost British luxury car brand, renowned for its production of 12-cylinder petrol engines and ultra-luxe cars and SUVs—and with large CO2 emissions to match. In a statement, the company said that it plans to switch its entire range to offer only plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicles by 2026, and all-electric vehicles only by 2030, meaning that Bentley will do away entirely with internal combustion engines this decade.
With this announcement, Bentley also says that every new model line of vehicles will come with the option of a hybrid variant by 2023, with the company’s first all-electric car (links to the concept model) set to be launched in 2025.
Bentley to “Reinvent Every Aspect” of the Business
In what will mark a complete flip of its current form, Bentley promises to “reinvent every aspect” of its business with the intent of becoming a carbon-neutral organisation and one of the UK’s leading champions of environmental sustainability. The company’s plan is one of the most ambitious of any UK car manufacturer in the transition towards electric vehicles.
Bentley’s Crewe-based plant is the only major car manufacturing facility in the UK to commit to exclusively producing electric cars (aside from Jaguar Land Rover). The Crewe facility became the first luxury automotive facility in the UK to become certified by the Carbon Trust last year in the company’s centenary year.
The Bentley EXP 100 GT, an all-electric vehicle concept. Image Credit: Bentley Motors.
Said Bentley’s chairman and chief executive, Adam Hallmark. “Since 1919, Bentley has defined grand luxury touring. Being at the forefront of progress is part of our DNA—the original Bentley Boys were pioneers and leaders.
“Now, as we look Beyond 100, we will continue to lead by reinventing the company and becoming the world’s benchmark luxury car business.”
A Comprehensive Sustainability Program
The company’s vow to be an “end-to-end carbon neutral organisation” in the absence of carbon offsetting is bold, to say the least. As covered previously on Electronics Point, most electric car batteries require a huge amount of energy to power their vehicles (in keeping with this, a Bentley spokesperson even admitted that the manufacturer is yet to work out a way to hit its target). Nevertheless, the carmaker says that such a goal would make it “financially resilient and recession-proof”, at a time when other car manufacturers look for ways to rise above their battered sales figures, following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recent figures taken from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders show that, for new UK cars sales over the łast nine years, October 2020 was the weakest of all Octobers: the number of cars registered has fallen by 1.6% (meaning that the figure went down to 140,945). If the situation doesn’t improve, car industry sales may see their worst year since 1982.
Announced last year, one of Bentley’s first concept all-electric cars is the EXP 100 GT (pictured above): a car that features “a multitude of sustainable materials” according to the car manufacturer. It promises to continue to only use sustainably-sourced materials through its current and next-generation hybrid and all-electric cars. Bentley also confirms that by the end of the year, all suppliers will be required to pass a sustainability audit to verify their sustainability credentials.
“Driving this change includes, and also goes beyond, our products—delivering a paradigm shift throughout our business with credibility, authenticity and integrity,” said Hallmark. “Within a decade, Bentley will transform from a 100-year-old luxury car company to a new, sustainable, wholly ethical role model for luxury.”