From 2026, Bentley will only offer plug-in models with a mix of PHEV and battery electric by then. Incrementally, the brand will then phase out internal combustion altogether, switching the entire model range to battery electric by 2030. Two new PHEVs are due for release in 2021 to join the Bentayga Hybrid.
2030 is an important year for another reason in Bentley's plans, as it aims to be end-to-end carbon neutral by then. After 2030, the brand is intending to be climate positive, meaning it offsets any carbon emissions to a greater degree than it produces them. In the meantime, it is planning to reduce its factory environmental impact by 75 per cent vs its 2010 emissions, by 2025.
“Sustainable luxury” is at the heart of Bentley's Beyond100 evolutionary plan. Within the next decade, it will go from the world's largest producer of 12-cylinder petrol engines to relying solely on electric power – reinventing itself as a world-leader in sustainable luxury along the way.
Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Bentley Motors, said: “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.”
Beyond100 is a fully over-arching business plan and extends to all of Bentley's operations – not just the cars themselves. Corporate social responsibility is unashamedly at the heart of this transformation – though with VW Group's weight behind it, we've no doubt that it's also positioning itself to be ahead of the curve to make the most of the widespread to electrification.
Financial resilience is being driven by a fundamental business restructure, including losing 200 permanent staff to take its workforce from 1000 to 800, moving those 200 positions to contract-based. It reckons that despite the challenges of 2020, it is on for a positive financial year in 2020.
It does have a slight head-start in that its Crewe HQ is already operating on a carbon-neutral, environmentally-friendly basis. This includes water recycling for the paint shop, 30,000 solar panels and a switch to renewable-only electricity from the grid. All of this was achieved in 2019.
By the end of 2020, all of Bentley's suppliers will have been audited for sustainability credentials to ensure they're operating in an environmentally-friendly manner. Furthermore, by the end of 2025, Bentley intends to have reduced its overall power consumption, water use and solvent use, as well as becoming plastic neutral. This should set it on-course for being climate positive by 2030.
Bentley's Beyond100 plan is one of the most positive and ambitious projects to go fully electric and climate-neutral from pretty much any manufacturer. Of course, Bentley's comparatively small size enables it to be nimble, but it has the weight of 100 years' petrol-powered luxury vehicles behind it, so it's impossible to underestimate the seismic shift for such a brand to make the switch.
But if you're a purist and think that getting rid of petrol engines is sacrilege for a brand like Bentley, take a look at how the brand sees its electric future in the form of the EXP 100 GT concept and come back to us!