While VW Group ploughs billions of euros into electric car development, things are a little further behind at Bentley. In stark contrast to the new EVs emerging left, right and centre from its fellow brands, there’s just plug-in hybrid in the British subsidiary’s entire portfolio.
As it happens, the Bentayga PHEV is also the only thing it sells that doesn’t have a V8 or a W12 under the bonnet. And on the latter front, it’s the last VW Group brand to use the unusual 6.0-litre, 12-cylinder beast, and is also responsible for its assembly. There’s going to be a dramatic turnaround in the next 10 years though, as Bentley has now pledged to go carbon neutral and ditch internal combustion entirely by 2030.
That’s a bold statement from a company that doesn’t intend to release its first production electric car until 2025, although it will have more hybrids in its range at that point. Two additional PHEVs will be introduced next year - almost certainly the Flying Spur and the Continental, since the Bentayga already has a hybrid option.
Within a year from that point, all Bentley models will be electrified to some degree. Whether or not this plan will involves a hybridised V8 is unclear, but we suspect the W12 would have already gone out of production by then.
Bentley hasn’t offered any hints as to how its first EV might shape up. It’s only fully electric concept car as of yet is the EXP 100 GT, which looks far beyond 2025 and isn’t a fully-functioning concept. Plus, its impressive statistics are all based on tech that doesn’t exist just yet.
Away from the cars, Bentley is off to a good start in its quest for carbon neutrality. Its solar panel-festooned factory in Crewe is already carbon neutral, and there are plans to put each of its suppliers through a sustainability audit.
Commenting on Bentley’s future, CEO Adrian Hallmark 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.
“Driving this change includes, and also goes beyond our products, delivering a paradigm shift throughout our business, with credibility, authenticity, and integrity. Within a decade, Bentley will transform from a 100 year old luxury car company to a new, sustainable, wholly ethical role model for luxury.”