'Five in Five' is something you'll hear plenty more of from Bentley during the 2020s. The premise is simple: from 2025, a new electric model will leave Crewe, every year for five years. Bentley has called it an 'unprecedented' launch plan, and promised that each new BEV would be a game-changer in its segment as the firm continues to push towards carbon neutrality by 2030.
To achieve this, the firm has announced a huge £2.5bn investment in its plant at Crewe, which not only secures Bentley's long-term future in the UK, but is also intended to turn the location into a world-leading 'Dream Factory' - definitely their words, not ours - fit for a zero-emissions future. The aim is for the electric cars to be assembled in a "next generation, digital, flexible and high-value manufacturing facility".
Bentley released few concrete details regarding the shape those five models will take, but it's a fair bet that the six-year-old Bentayga and four-year-old Continental GT are well on their way to electrified replacements. Bentley has previously stated that it is waiting for battery performance to reach the point where it can guarantee a range it feels is appropriate to the brand. But the manufacturer confirmed that it is part of an Audi-led project to deliver a future advanced EV platform, and its first EV in 2025 is expected to be an entirely new model.
Anyway, we're getting ahead of ourselves. For the moment the plan is for the whole Bentley business to get on board with the carbon-neutral, Beyond100 ambition. Impressively, the Crewe site is already certified as carbon neutral; following on next is the entire retail network, which is pencilled in for 2025. There are plans afoot to make more energy at Crewe, too, with another 10,000 solar panels going in, and biofuel is going to be used in the fleet cars. "Bentley aims to reduce water consumption, waste to landfill and other environmental impacts for every vehicle built in Crewe to an absolute minimum until 2030", reads the press statement.
Which all sounds fan-dabby-dozy, and certainly the factory's carbon neutral status shouldn't be dismissed - but it's an awful lot to do in not much time. For the moment - i.e., three years before the introduction of this first new EV - it's predicted that 20 per cent of Bentley's sales in 2022 will come from the Bentayga and Flying Spur PHEV models. So that's four out of five without any electric assistance at all. Still, if nothing else, the past couple of years has shown us how quickly the automotive landscape can change. Imagine telling somebody about the hybrid Bentley SUV a decade ago...
Adrian Hallmark, Bentley CEO and Chairman, noted: "This latest announcement regarding Bentley's Beyond100 plan confirms the initiation of a major transformative phase in the company's long and illustrious history. 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."
1 / 3