Luxury car manufacturer Bentley said Wednesday it will spend billions of dollars over the next decade to overhaul its manufacturing operations to become end-to-end carbon neutral and exclusively offer electric vehicles (EV) by 2030. It would be abandoning its famed 12-cylinder gas-powered cars as the auto industry shifts away from traditional combustion engines.
Bentley, which is owned by German automaker Volkswagen, said it will spend £2.5 billion, or about $3.4 billion, over the next 10 years as part of its “first step into electrification” at its sole production plant in Crewe, England, that employs about 4,000 people.
The car maker said its first EV is expected to roll off the production line in 2025 as part of its “Five-in-Five” plan, which includes launching one new EV every year through 2030.
The investment is part of Bentley’s “Beyond 100” sustainability strategy, which it first announced in 2020.
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“Simultaneously accelerating our Beyond 100 strategy and securing BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) production at Crewe, alongside a £2.5 billion investment, makes this a major landmark in Bentley’s 102-year history. It is a shining light for the Bentley family, our suppliers and partners, as well as the automotive industry and UK manufacturing as a whole,” Adrian Hallmark, Bentley Motors CEO, said in a statement.
Currently, Bentley offers hybrid versions of its Bentayga SUV and Flying Spur sedan.
The move comes as several large automakers are making huge investments toward electric vehicles amid increasing pressure by governments and regulators to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions to curb global warming. Car companies are also hoping to become competitive with Tesla, which has dominated the electric vehicle market.
On Tuesday, U.S. automaker General Motors announced it is making a $7 billion investment in four new Michigan electric vehicle manufacturing plants in an effort to “be the market leader” in electric vehicles by 2025.
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