- Bentley Motors plans to spend £2.5 billion (about $3.4 billion) over the next decade to become a fully electric luxury brand by 2030.
- The investment will include significant upgrades to Bentley's historic plant manufacturing campus in England.
- Bentley's first all-electric vehicle is scheduled to roll off the production line in 2025.
Bentley Motors plans to spend 2.5 billion pounds (about $3.4 billion) over the next decade to become a fully electric luxury brand by 2030, the 102-year-old carmaker said Wednesday.
The investment will include research and development and significant upgrades to Bentley's historic plant manufacturing campus in Crewe, England through 2032, the company said. The Crewe Campus is Bentley's sole assembly facility globally.
Bentley, which is owned by German automaker Volkswagen, announced its electrification target in 2020 as a major part of its "Beyond100" business transformation plan that also includes the company becoming end-to-end carbon neutral by 2030. This is the first time it's disclosed the investment amount.
Bentley's first electric vehicle is scheduled to roll off the production line in 2025, according to the company. That vehicle will be followed by one new EV from the company every year through 2030, totaling five new vehicles.
"Beyond100 is the boldest plan in Bentley's illustrious history, and in the luxury segment. It's an ambitious and credible roadmap to carbon neutrality of our total business system, including the shift to 100% BEV in just eight years," Bentley CEO and Chairman Adrian Hallmark said in a release.
The change is a major move for the automaker, which is best known for its uber-luxurious vehicles with eight- and 12-cylinder engines that can cost millions of dollars. It follows several other automakers saying they plan to move away from vehicles with traditional internal combustion engines to electric powertrains.
"Watch out for more communication on this road to carbon neutrality that we've committed to because we're going to be making bold steps at every level in the value chain from the supplier base to the factory to power generation as well as the carbon cells," Hallmark told CNBC during a phone interview Wednesday.
But unlike many mainstream automakers, Bentley will lean on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in its transition to all electric. The company plans to exclusively offer electrified models, including all-electric and plug-in hybrids, beginning in 2026.
Bentley currently offers plug-in hybrid versions of its Bentayga SUV for $160,000 and Flying Spur sedan for $208,000. Both include engines as well as EV components and electric range. Another five PHEVs are expected to be announced this year, as Bentley plans for more than 20% of its sales this year to be plug-in models.
Bentley's plans follow its second consecutive year of record sales. It reported sales of 14,659 vehicles last year, a 31% increase over the company's previous sales record of 11,206 cars and SUVs in 2020.
The record sales occurred while much of the global automotive industry struggled with supply chain issues. Most notably, an ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips.
Bentley expects another record year of sales in 2022. Hallmark said the company had a 30% larger order bank this year than it did to start 2021.
"We're set for a good 2022 and it's symptomatic of the stronger period of our new product range and the hybridization strategy," he said.