Bentley "Five in Five" EV plan detailed as luxe goes green by 2030

Bentley will launch a new electric model every year between 2025 and 2030, the luxury automaker has announced today, as it continues its Beyond 100 roadmap toward a fully-BEV range. Dubbed "five in five," the strategy will see a rapid evolution of the Bentley line-up, adding a fifth model to the current portfolio. It'll also mean an increase in workforce, with the current 4,000 employees expected to expand as BEV development accelerates.

The news comes on the heels of Bentley's announcement earlier today that it would be building its first fully-electric car at its Crewe plant in the UK. The new "Bentley Dream Factory" will be part of a $3.4 billion investment that the automaker plans to make over the next ten years, with the first result in late 2025 when the initial Bentley BEV arrives. By the end of this decade, meanwhile, the entire Bentley range will be all-electric.

The "Dream Factory" will not only be carbon neutral, as the existing Crewe facility is, but will also target zero emissions in water, waste, and other environmental impact by 2030. By then, Bentley should be end-to-end carbon neutral. It'll do that while also emphasizing the automaker's focus on bespoke detailing, the classic techniques it has refined for things like wood veneer and leather, but with digital manufacturing used to accelerate development.

Gone will be the traditional production line; in its place, Bentley plans to use autonomous "chauffeurs" to move each vehicle through the production process. That will allow each model to be moved between different departments, as Bentley focuses on delivering the unique and custom features that many owners spend extra on. To help power it all, the existing 30,000 solar panels at the Crewe factory will be expanded by a third.

PHEV (plug-in hybrid) demand has already been strong for Bentley. Its first model, the Bentayga Hybrid, already makes up 20% sales of the SUV. That's a big deal, when Bentayga sales make up 45% of all Bentley models sold. Next up comes the 2022 Flying Spur Hybrid, which we drove earlier this month, and which gave an even more beguiling insight into what an all-electric Bentley could be like. The automaker expects it to capture around 20% of sales of the high-end sedan.

By 2024, there'll be a hybrid version of every Bentley model: considering the only outliers right now are the Continental GT coupe and convertible, that sets a date for the hybrid version of the automaker's sports cars. By 2026, meanwhile, all of Bentley's offering will be exclusively hybrid or electric.

BEV does make a whole lot of sense for luxury vehicles. Bentley's V12 engine, for example, is known for its surfeit of torque at very low engine speeds, but electric motors can deliver all their torque immediately. Combined with the much quieter operation and the cut in vibrations, compared to internal combustion engines, it's hard not to see why EV has gained traction among high-end vehicle manufacturers.

Bentley is, of course, a low volume player even in that rarified category. In 2021, only around 15,000 cars were produced for worldwide sales; order a new car now, and you're looking at a 7+ month waiting list. Even with such small numbers coming off the line, relatively speaking, Bentley argues that it packs an outsize punch for the category.

"We are really a pioneer for luxury electric cars," Peter Bosch, board member for manufacturing, insists. Crewe's carbon-neutral factory, Bosch adds, was the first. Even Bentley's UK dealerships are all certified carbon-neutral already; that's expected to be the case for its dealers worldwide by 2025.

From 2025, every year there'll be a completely new model – all electric – until the end of the decade. Each of the five new Bentleys will encapsulate the company's reputation for performance and craftsmanship, but will also aim to expand the automaker's audience as it pushes "sustainable luxury" as an ethos.

Meanwhile, there'll also be more derivatives of the Bentley models. That will include a focus on comfort and wellbeing, the automaker suggests, with five new hybrid derivatives this year alone. Mulliner – the coachbuilding division – also has some surprises on the roadmap, though details haven't been shared yet.

Exactly what the first Bentley BEV will be, the automaker is playing close to its chest. Target range hasn't been disclosed yet, though Bentley says it actually sees the comfort of the charging experience as being more important for its owners. The first BEV will be an addition to the existing line-up, rather than replacing the Flying Spur, Bentayga, Continental GT Coupe, or Continental GT Convertible.