Bentley, the Volkswagen-owned British luxury automaker known for its powerful 12-cylinder engines, will invest 2.5 billion pounds ($3.4 billion) to convert to a fully electric product lineup by 2030.
The company will make its first EV by 2025 at its only plant in Crewe, England, where the investment, announced Wednesday, will preserve about 4,000 jobs
Production of three gas engine models, the Continental, Flying Spur and Bentayga, will end in 2026.
The conversion to battery-electric powertrains is part of Bentley’s Beyond 100 strategy set out in November 2020 to become completely carbon neutral by the end of this decade and “become the world’s benchmark luxury car business, financially resilient and recession-proof.”
“Our aim is to become the benchmark not just for luxury cars or sustainable credentials, but the entire scope of our operations,” said CEO Adrian Hallmark. “Securing production of our first battery-electric vehicle in Crewe is a milestone moment for Bentley and the U.K. as we plan for a long-term sustainable future.”
Production among all U.K. automakers dropped in 2021 to the lowest level since 1984, but British consumers bought more electric vehicles last year – about 15,000 — than in the previous five years combined.
Founder Walter Owen Bentley built the company’s first car in 1919 in his garage in northwest London. In addition to manufacturing operations the headquarters in Crewe is where the company’s research, development and engineering operations are located.