Bentley will phase out its famed internal-combustion engines by 2030 and switch to full-electric vehicles as part of long-term plans to dramatically cut or eliminate emissions.
The Volkswagen Group ultraluxury brand said last week it will add two plug-in hybrids next year and its first full-electric vehicle in 2025.
The EV will be the first of a family of EVs, Bentley engineering chief Matthias Rabe said.
The moves are part of Bentley’s strategy to position itself as a socially responsible company with the aim of being climate and carbon neutral by 2030.
By 2026, the brand will electrify powerful 8- and 12-cylinder engines and only offer plug-in hybrid and full-electric models as part of a strategy called Beyond 100, which references its 100-year history.
“We want to create a carbon neutral company, end to end, by 2030,” Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark said. “A 100-year-old company that’s renowned for the best 12-cylinder, the most successful 12-cylinder in the world, will not be building engines in less than a decade. This is profound change for the industry, but we want to lead that change. We’re not frightened by it, we’re inspired by it.”
Bentley declined to give more details on the future models, but the plug-in hybrids due next year are expected to be versions of the Flying Spur sedan and the Continental GT coupe.
Bentley sells one plug-in hybrid — the Bentayga Hybrid SUV — in a lineup of models with eight- and 12-cylinder engines.
Bentley has hinted that its first full-electric vehicle could be an SUV built using VW Group’s Premium Platform Electric underpinnings, being developed by Porsche and Audi, which are also owned by VW Group. In December, Hallmark told Automotive News Europe that Bentley aims to transition onto a new VW Group architecture.
Bentley is planning to switch replacements for the Continental GT and Flying Spur, which share their MSB platform with the Porsche Panamera, onto the PPE platform, sources told Automobilwoche, a sibling publication of Automotive News.
Bentley’s future has long been the subject of discussion among VW Group’s top ranks, who have been frustrated by the brand’s lack of consistent profitability.
The latest plan, according to the Automobilwoche report, is to transfer control of Bentley to Audi from Porsche, allowing Bentley to tap more Audi technology.