Saturday, February 4, 2023

Bentley Ends 2022 With the First Recycled 3D-Printed Gold Trim and a Carbon Neutral ‘Nutcracker’

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While Bentley has had to push back the launch date for its first fully-electric vehicle to 2026, it’s not slowed the British automaker’s sustainability commitments. It’s ending the year with an eco bang: 3D-printed gold and a carbon-neutral rendition of a holiday classic.

Bentley’s first fully electric car, slated to launch in 2025, has been pushed back to 2026, the car manufacturer announced recently. No reason was given for the delay, but Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark said it was unrelated to a software issue parent company Volkswagen AG is currently experiencing, and the delay will only be “a matter of months.”

That delay hasn’t slowed the luxury brand’s sustainability goals, though. Keeping with its commitment to end-to-end carbon neutral by 2030, Bentley has launched the first 3D-printed gold in vehicles. It’s also seeing milestones in its biodiversity pledge at its Crewe, England, factory. And to celebrate it all, a holiday classic reimagined by the factroy itself.

3D-printed gold

For its new Mulliner Batur —the second highly exclusive coach-built model from the luxury carmaker — 3D-printed gold.

The new W12-powered Batur coupe contains up to 210 grams of yellow gold 3D printed — also called additive manufacturing — from recycled shavings in an industry first.

According to Bentley, it’s using a technique called Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). It takes powdered gold, which Bentley is recycling from old jewelry, and then fuses it layer by layer as it prints. DMLS does not require a binding material, so the printed metal is 100 percent gold.

Bentley's 3D gold
Bentley is the first car manufacturer to use 3D-printed recycled gold | Courtesy

The novel use of the tech is featured on key driver touch points throughout the car, including the Charisma Dial, encircling the start/stop button, and used to change driver modes. The gold is also in Bentley’s Organ Stop dashboard vent controls as well as a gold insert marker on the steering wheel.

Bentley worked with the renowned goldsmiths at Cooksongold to craft the unique Batur parts.

“Bentley’s approach to additive manufacturing is industry-leading, evident through our pioneering use of a luxury metal in the design and development process of the Batur,” Dr. Matthias Rabe, Member of the Board for Research and Development at Bentley Motors, said in a statement. “One of the key benefits is that it is efficiency-led, cutting down on the cost and complexity of a myriad of jobs but maintaining the value of a rare resource.

“As Bentley embraces an exciting future, we see huge potential in advanced, innovative technologies,” Rabe said. “Processes such as 3D printed gold will be a springboard that allows our customers an even greater ability to personalise, further enhancing the individualisation programme offered on every car.”

Earlier this year, Bentley pledged £3 million in order to double its additive manufacturing capacity at its Crewe factory. It says future applications will facilitate more low-volume manufacturing components and bespoke customer personalization, “including the pioneering use of 3D printed gold in a range of new generation models.”

Bentley’s biodiversity buzz

Continuing its #GOTOZERO initiative, the Bentley headquarters is also home to more than 600,000 honeybees across ten beehives on the property, the company says.

flowers to plant in your garden
Couretsy Dixit Motiwala | Unsplash

“Next year, we are celebrating five years of carbon neutrality for our site in Crewe, and biodiversity plays a part in this success,” Peter Bosch, Bentley’s Board Member for Manufacturing, said in a statement. “While we celebrate this, we don’t rest on our laurels and constantly strive for new initiatives to improve our environmental impact even further, to ensure our site and end-to-end business operations reflect our ambitions to become the leader in sustainable luxury mobility.”

The luxury carmaker’s Crewe headquarters is taking up other biodiversity efforts including seed bombing more than 5,000 daffodils, and one hundred trees planted across the campus.

Bentley performs The Nutcracker

Bentley is feeling the holiday spirit in a big way this year at its carbon-neutral Crewe factory. The car manufacturer has released its version of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker, composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The musicians? The factory itself.

“When you walk around the factory it’s not just what you see, it’s what you hear that is so distinctive,” Bentley’s fictional Mr. S.C. Lause, Director of Elves, said of the piece. “So, it occurred to me that creating the Bentley Orchestra would be a unique way to celebrate the extraordinary skills of Bentley craftspeople as well as showcasing their modern sustainable future.”

The sounds are captured from all across the factory production including machines and craftspeople to a red Bentley rolling off the production line.

The video also showcases the factory’s expansive solar panels and green wall inside the factory, both nods to its sustainability commitments.

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