Major automakers from around the world are moving quickly toward a future without gasoline vehicles, and Bentley has now made its plans for electric cars even clearer.
Huge names that include Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, and Ford have all made very splashy and very public commitments to fund and develop new EVs, but now we're hearing from the premium side of the market.
Bentley, the more than 100-year-old English automaker, just made its position known. While the boutique builder's investment is nowhere near the scope and size of its gargantuan mainstream counterparts, the company says it will fund a complete transition to electric vehicles by the end of the decade.
Called 'Beyond100', Bentley's plans include a shift to complete carbon neutrality by 2030. The £2.5 billion investment will be spread across the next several years.
Funds will support upgrades to the automaker's factory in Crewe, England, and will fund research and development of new electric powertrains and technologies.
This is the first time we've heard from Bentley on how much it's spending on its electrification project after the company made its initial EV pledge back in 2020.
The first Bentley EV arrives in 2025
Bentley's first EV is slated for 2025, and by 2030, the luxury automaker will have completed its transition to electrification.
To get there, Bentley will utilize plug-in hybrid powertrains, and says that by 2026, its entire lineup will feature either BEV or PHEV propulsion.
The Bentayga and Flying Spur are both currently available with PHEV powertrains, a big shift from the heaven-and-earth-moving V12s and V8s seen in Bentley's cars for decades.
The move makes perfect sense for a low-volume, ultra-high-end automaker like Bentley. As part of the Volkswagen Group, Bentley has access to a wealth of engineering and design knowledge, and electric powertrains are a natural progression for high-end cars.
Many buyers of cars from brands like Bentley and Rolls-Royce make their purchase for luxury and opulence over performance and noise. Electric cars make perfect sense here, as their silent powertrains and strong torque can move big luxo-vehicles without drama.
Bentley's decision also makes sense from a vehicle cost perspective. People expect to pay more for a Bentley and all of the accoutrements that come along with them, so shelling out a little extra for an EV powertrain isn't going to raise many eyebrows.
The cost of batteries and electric powertrains will surely fall in the next 8-10 years, but Bentley can feel confident its buyers will be fine with the price tag either way.