Friday, December 9, 2022

The Billion-Dollar EV ‘Dream Factory’ On Bentley’s Sustainability Roadmap

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Bentley Motors continues its race to becoming the world’s most sustainable luxury car brand. Its latest move includes a “Dream Factory” as part of its sustainability roadmap.

Announcing its “Beyond100” sustainability strategy, UK-based Bentley Motors says it’s investing more than $3 billion (£2.5 billion) into its electric vehicle future, including the development of its “Dream Factory” at its Crewe, England, headquarters to help it become fully electric and carbon neutral by 2030.

The move builds on the automaker’s plans to launch its first fully-electric vehicle in 2025. The announcement also comes after the recent release of its second hybrid, the Flying Spur. The company says it expects that more than 20 percent of sales this year will come from its hybrid models.     

Beyond100

“Beyond100 is the boldest plan in Bentley’s illustrious history, and in the luxury segment,” Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, said in a statement. “It’s an ambitious and credible roadmap to carbon neutrality of our total business system, including the shift to 100 percent BEV in just eight years. Our aim is to become the benchmark not just for luxury cars or sustainable credentials but the entire scope of our operations.”

The new Dream Factory will include Bentley’s go-to-zero approach for its manufacturing impact on the environment; it achieved carbon neutral production in 2019. Bentley says new targets include efforts to reduce water consumption and decrease the amount of waste going to landfill, among other environmental impacts.

“Simultaneously accelerating our Beyond100 strategy and securing BEV production at Crewe, alongside a £2.5 billion investment, makes this a major landmark in Bentley’s 102-year history. It is a shining light for the Bentley family, our suppliers and partners, as well as the automotive industry and UK manufacturing as a whole,” Hallmark said.

The Beyond100 strategy includes a Five-in-Five plan that will see the luxury automaker release one new EV model a year between 2025 and 2030.

Bentley has lagged behind luxury competitors entering the EV market, including its fellow Volkswagen brand, Audi. Last year saw record electric vehicle sales for the German carmaker. It’s now increasing efforts globally, including the development of proprietary charging stations. It’s currently testing a reservation-only charging station in Nuremberg, Germany.

Mercedes-Benz also took a big step into EVs with the launch of the EQS—a luxury electric sedan that critics say outperforms the EV market leader, Tesla.

Other luxury automakers including Jaguar, Volvo, and BMW have entered the EV market as well.

For Bentley, though, the brand says the wait will be worth it. Its first EV will contain perks like technology that allows the car to turn its movements into music.

The company is also behind the OCTOPUS research project (Optimised Components, Test and simulatiOn, toolkits for Powertrains which integrate Ultra high-speed motor Solutions). It is working to create a truly recyclable powertrain—a feat Tesla hasn’t mastered yet either. Bentley says it’s aiming to launch its first EV with a fully recyclable powertrain.

“Somebody once said to me, ‘Imagining the future is easy, but managing the transition is tough.’ There will not be a binary change. We won’t go from all engines to all electric overnight,” Hallmark said last year. “We see this transition as being the key. It’s a dangerous period. But we’ve got security … the technology is there. So we’re confident.”

The Dream Factory

The Dream Factory will see the first EV designed, developed, and produced in Crewe, a move Bentley says is a boost to its local team—the headquarters employ about 4,000 currently—and it’s a boost to the UK, making it a leading location for sustainable high-value manufacturing.

“Securing production of our first BEV in Crewe is a milestone moment for Bentley, and the UK, as we plan for a long-term sustainable future in Crewe,” Hallmark said.

Bentley says it has already made “enormous” strides in reinventing its Crewe location, and the funding will help to reduce its carbon footprint across all non-factory operations as well. This will include increasing the factory’s solar panels from 30,000 to 40,000 over the next two years.

The carmaker says it’s also exploring biofuels for fleet cars, including its Heritage Collection.

“This latest announcement regarding Bentley’s Beyond100 plan confirms the initiation of a major transformative phase in the company’s long and illustrious history,” Hallmark said. “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.”

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