Bentley Motors has revealed further details of its Beyond100 strategy, as the luxury carmaker prepares to go fully-electric by 2030. The target is driven by a transformation programme across Bentley’s entire operations and products. This includes switching its model range to offer exclusively plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicles by 2026, and full electric vehicles only by 2030.
The announcement highlights Bentley’s plans to evolve from the world’s largest producer of 12-cylinder petrol engines, to having no internal combustion engines within a decade.
Aware of the responsibility to consider its environmental, social and economic impact, Bentley has transformed its 80-year-old headquarters into the UK’s single carbon neutral luxury car factory. In parallel, the luxury marque has grown to operate in more markets than ever before, 68, while creating a long-term, consistent, sustainable business model.
Adrian Hallmark, chairman and chief executive officer of Bentley Motors, said: “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.”
End-to-end carbon neutral
Bentley’s aim to become an end-to-end carbon neutral luxury car brand by 2030 will be underpinned by a structured, business-wide sustainability programme. This includes the development of electrified models throughout the range, and further improvements on its operational environmental impact, that of its tier one supply chain and collaborating with its retailer network.
Bentley’s approach to redefining its business model will be built around its accelerated journey towards electrification. Following the introduction of the first Bentley fully electric model in 2025 – Bentley’s first cradle to grave fully carbon neutral car – Bentley will exclusively offer plug-in hybrid and electric models only within its range in 2026. By 2030, this will change to battery electric vehicles only.
Bentley’s electrified future was previewed with the reveal of the all-electric EXP 100 GT concept car in its centenary year, which also featured a multitude of sustainable materials. These included 5,000-year-old copper-infused Riverwood, traditionally produced wool carpets and a leather-like textile upholstery made from a by-product of wine making. Bentley will continue to use only sustainably sourced materials throughout its current, and next generation of cars.
Last year, Bentley’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 2020, all suppliers will have passed a sustainability audit, verifying their sustainability credentials. In the future, by the end of 2025, the company intends to reduce its factory environmental impact by focusing on energy consumption, CO2 emissions, waste water, use of solvents in the paint process and becoming plastic neutral. This will result in a climate positive factory by 2030, actively reducing levels of carbon in the atmosphere, while in parallel the business invests in renewable energy and forestation projects.
Financially resilient and recession-proof
Achieving sustainable luxury mobility relies heavily on a sustainable business model, and Bentley’s aim is to become the world’s benchmark luxury car business, financially resilient and recession-proof. The challenging economic situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in Bentley undertaking its biggest change programme in a century.
This change programme was driving for consistent financial resilience through rapid productivity improvements across the business, and a fundamental restructure. Previously announcing a voluntary release and redundancy programme with the aim of a workforce reduction of 1,000 permanent colleagues, this figure was reduced to 800 colleagues, including around 200 contractor positions.
Furthermore, the success of this voluntary release programme has resulted in a much smaller number of those remaining at risk of compulsory redundancy, less than 10, although Bentley continues to investigate opportunities to avoid this outcome if possible.
The results from this comprehensive cost and investment structure has placed the business in a position to achieve a positive financial performance for the full year 2020, in spite of the extenuating external circumstances. This platform will create a sustainable, consistently profitable business model for the next 100 years
Achieving sustainable value creation is in large part down to the growth and collaboration of Bentley’s extraordinary people. Designing and building Bentleys of the future will require a greater diversity of talent, achieved by retraining in some areas and by developing and attracting a wide-range of talent including digital innovators and creative thinkers.
Bentley will continue to work with local schools and colleges to develop local talent in South Cheshire, building even closer links with the Crewe Engineering & Design UTC, which Bentley is a founding partner of. This includes becoming the employer of choice in the automotive sector with a clear brand, vision, mission, values and purpose. Bentley is focused on attracting diverse candidates and is targeting a management population of 30 per cent by 2025 that is truly diverse, increasing today’s figure of less than 20 per cent.
The company is committed to handcrafting cars in Crewe for the next 100 years, whilst also preparing for a digital future, and has confirmed it will be investing in two new Research and Development buildings, a vehicle test centre and a dedicated launch quality centre. This expansion and greater focus on digitalisation reinforces Bentley as a values-led organisation, matching customer values of sustainability, innovation and collaboration, which is more important than ever in a digital world.