Luxury British carmaker Bentley plans to spend $3.4 billion over the next decade to become fully electric by 2030.
The multi-billion dollar investment will include a “complete transformation” of Bentley’s manufacturing factory in Crewe, England, the brand said on Wednesday. All Bentley cars are built at the plant, which employs 4,000 workers.
The first fully electric vehicle (EV) from Bentley, which is owned by Germany’s Volkswagen, will roll off the production line in 2025. The 102-year-old brand announced its electrification goals in 2020 as a cornerstone of its “Beyond100” business plan, which also includes going carbon neutral by the end of the decade.
The company’s Crewe factory achieved carbon neutral certification back in 2019 through the use of renewable energy and offsets. It has “industry-leading credentials,” Peter Bosch, board member for manufacturing at Bentley, revealed in a release. He added that the upgraded factory will also “go to zero with water, waste, and other environmental impacts.”
Bentley’s big move into electrification
The hard pivot to EVs is a major change for the luxury brand. It’s best known for its powerful eight- and 12-cylinder combustion engines and cars that can cost upwards of $200,000. But, the change is necessary: the UK’s ban on new fossil fuel cars starts in 2030. The plan is part of the nation’s 10-point “green industrial revolution” aimed at helping the country reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
In 2019, Bentley’s centennial, the company revealed an electric concept car called the EXP 100 GT, which featured sustainable and circular materials. The interior was made from a plant-based leather created with leftover grape skins, seeds, and stalks from the wine industry. The exterior paint was made from rice husk ash, a byproduct of the rice industry.
Despite not being perfect (for several reasons, such as the mining of rare minerals and prohibitive costs), EVs are a more sustainable alternative to cars that run on gas, and experts maintain that a transition away from fossil fuels is necessary to curb the effects of climate change. The transportation industry is responsible for roughly 30 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, and 85 percent of a car’s carbon emissions come from fuel use. According to a study published in the journal Nature Sustainability, a global switch to EVs could cut emissions across most regions.
Multiple carmakers have announced plans to transition to EVs in the coming years, including Honda, Volvo, and Ford.