Bentley has shed further light on its electric car plans, announcing a £2.5 billion (A$4.72b) spend that locks in UK production.
The company’s previously confirmed first EV, due in 2025, will be designed, developed and manufactured at the company’s Crewe headquarters.
Four new EVs will follow: one a year up to 2030, by which point Bentley will cease sales of internal combustion-engine vehicles.
Bentley is calling it its ‘Five-in-Five’ plan, part of its broader ‘Beyond100’ strategy that also includes the rollout of plug-in hybrid models in the interim including five additional Bentayga PHEV variants.
As to what shape Bentley’s first EV will take, the company’s CEO Adrian Hallmark told Autocar it “will be an incremental product to the ones we have today and won’t compete with anything we do”.
“We intend to create not just an EV but to shape a segment too,” he added.
Hallmark also told Autocar the five EVs won’t all use the same platform, but that they’ll all use shared Volkswagen Group architecture and “some will be higher, some will be lower”.
The first model will reportedly have more than 482km (300 miles) of range.
Crewe will become a ‘Dream Factory’ which, as Bentley puts it, is a “digital, zero environmental impact, flexible and high-value manufacturing facility”.
The plant was already certified in 2019 as the first carbon neutral car plant in the UK by the Carbon Trust.
In addition to using only energy from renewable sources, the factory’s paint shop has a water recycling system and there are 30,000 solar panels across the site.
An additional 10,000 solar panels will be deployed over the next two years.
It’s now focusing on reducing water consumption, waste to landfill, and other environmental impacts, and is investigating using sustainable biofuel in its fleet cars including its Heritage Collection.
The company had already announced in late 2020 its plans to offer only electric vehicles by 2030 and to introduce its first EV in 2025.
The company also announced at the time its plans to become end-to-end carbon neutral.
As part of its carbon neutrality push, it’s expecting suppliers to meet minimum sustainability standards and for its global retailer network to be carbon neutral by no later than 2025.
While fellow British luxury nameplate Rolls-Royce is jumping directly to electric vehicles – it launches its first EV, the Spectre, in 2023 and will be EV-only by 2030 – Bentley has been rolling out a range of plug-in hybrids.
The Flying Spur Hybrid follows the Bentayga Hybrid, and Bentley says it expects more than 20 per cent of its global sales this year to come from these hybrid models.
“This latest announcement regarding Bentley’s Beyond100 plan confirms the initiation of a major transformative phase in the company’s long and illustrious history,” said Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark.
“The world is changing and we need to play our part in neutralising our environmental impact.
“That means delivering on our aim to be end-to-end carbon neutral by 2030, and reaffirming our role as the leader in sustainable luxury mobility.”