9 November 2020
Bentley has become the first Volkswagen (VW) Group brand to commit its entire fleet to electrification, with the luxury car manufacturer aiming for all sales by 2026 to be from electrically-chargeable vehicles (EVs).
In addition, Bentley will become end-to-end carbon neutral by 2030. The timescale means it will transform from the world’s largest producer of 12-cylinder petrol engines to offering no internal combustion options within a decade.
The changes fully support VW Group’s ambition of going beyond the two-degree limit on global-warming target of the Paris Climate Agreement. This plan will be built around its acceleration towards full-fleet electrification.
Bentley will launch two new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models next year and plans to offer only battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) from 2030 in order to meet its climate goals
It makes sense for Bentley to be the first to lead the way - the brand has a dedicated customer base and sells a small but not insignificant number of vehicles – with just over 11,000 units shipped in 2019. VW Group can monitor Bentley’s progress as it switches to a full-electric offering, and use it as a case study to decide on the future of fleets within its other brands.
‘Driving this change includes, and also goes beyond our products, delivering a paradigm shift throughout our business, with credibility, authenticity, and integrity,’ said Adrian Hallmark, chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors. ‘Within a decade, Bentley will transform from a 100-year-old luxury car company to a new, sustainable, wholly ethical role model for luxury.’
VW Group is aiming to be a carbon-neutral company and is committed to achieving climate targets set out by the Paris Climate Agreement. The central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels this century.
Speaking in 2018, Michael Jost, head of group product strategy and chief strategy officer of the Volkswagen brand, said that global warming could only be limited to the agreed maximum of two degrees if there was an immediate change of course. The mobility sector could not solve the problems on its own but had to forge ahead regardless. ‘Volkswagen wants to do more than comply with legal requirements; Volkswagen accepts social responsibility for the climate. The Volkswagen Group has a clear plan, which shows its commitment to the Paris climate targets.’
Bentley is committed to following the vision of the group and will work to become end-to-end carbon neutral. Last year, the carmaker’s production facility in Crewe became the first luxury automotive factory in the UK to be certified carbon neutral by the Carbon Trust.
This followed two decades of implementing innovative solutions, including a water-recycling system in the paint shop, local tree planting, installation of a 10,000 solar panel carport, taking the total number of on-site solar panels to 30,000, and a switch to renewable-only electricity sources.
The Crewe facility will continue to improve its environmental operations. By the end of this year, all suppliers will have passed a sustainability audit, verifying their sustainability credentials. By the end of 2025, the company will have reduced its factory environmental impact by focusing on energy consumption, CO2 emissions, wastewater, use of solvents in the painting process and becoming plastic-neutral. This will result in a climate-positive factory by 2030.