Bentley, Rolls, Ferrari … when luxury cars become electric

We did it this time. By 2025, the super-rich will pollute less on the roads. For two or three years, luxury car brands have been announcing one after another that they will soon have 100% electric models in their catalog. But until then, the most emblematic, the most prestigious of them was missing: Bentley. The century-old English manufacturer, official supplier to the crown in England and the largest manufacturer of V12 petrol engines, symbolizes both luxury and performance.

the Bentley EXP 100 GT concept car, presented at the Festival Automobile International in Paris in 2020
the Bentley EXP 100 GT concept car, presented at the Festival Automobile International in Paris in 2020

On January 25, everything changed with ” Five out of five plan “, Five fully electric models in five years, a project announced by Adrian Hallmark, head of the brand. As for the other models offered, they will all be hybrids. First stage, in 2025, with a new model based on the EXP 100 GT concept car presented in 2019, a six meter long bomb equipped with four super powerful engines and six thousand LEDs instead of the grille (see the picture). In 2027, the electric versions of the Bentayga SUV and Continental sedan will follow, and in 2029 its largest model, the Flying Spur.

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bees and hives

All will be based on the PPE (Premium Platform Electric) platform designed by Audi and Porsche, two other brands from the Volkswagen group, owner of Bentley since 1998. With its plan, the English manufacturer hopes to become “a leader in sustainable luxury mobility”, according to Adrian Hallmark.

Legendary Cars (1/5): The Queen of England’s Bentley

The very top of the row is therefore in the battle order … organic. It must comply with new and future European environmental standards in order to survive. Bentley goes further by installing thirty thousand solar panels near its factories in Crewe, near Liverpool, and … three hundred thousand bees!

A Bentley cube installed at the Crewe site
A Bentley cube installed at the Crewe site

What makes environmental activists laugh? XXL beehives brand Bentley certainly do not have much to do with the frugality required to combat global warming. Luxury cars are – if we dare say so – basically energy-intensive, both for their construction and their use. In addition, the batteries in the electric motors are very heavy. So imagine when it comes to powerful cars …

However, the shift from luxury to electric is still excellent news, firstly for employment. For who says luxury, says highly qualified employee. Their know-how in the factories is similar to that of the workers in the haute couture workshops. Let us add that for those who love beautiful cars, it is a real pleasure to know that they will still be built in England. By investing in the technologies of the future, these manufacturers then promote the knowledge that will be regained by consumer brands. In the late 1970s, only Mercedes and BMW equipped their models with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), a technology that is essential today.

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The coveted electric

If the trickle-down theory is questionable in economics, it is not in technology. But above all, this shift from luxury to electric makes it desirable. Tesla, the first, was able to get the wealthy to want to drive “clean”. The performance of the Model S, its sedan launched in 2012, but also Elon Musk’s libertarian discourse, the head of the American brand, has – whether we like it or not – disconnected the electric from its ecological connotation in favor of a technological and futuristic universe. Mercedes EQS, Audi e-tron, BMW iX, Jaguar I-Pace … and all the advanced electric models have in turn credited the electric with a strong seductiveness.

Prince Harry opened the door to his Jaguar E-Type for his wife Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018 just after their wedding
Prince Harry opened the door to his Jaguar E-Type for his wife Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018 just after their wedding

At Prince Harry’s and Megan Markle’s wedding in 2018, the electrified Jaguar convertible they borrowed, no doubt, the environmental cause across the Channel more than the repeated speeches of Prince Charles, the groom’s father.

We tested the Mercedes EQS, the electric sedan that will overtake the Tesla

A global battle is unfolding today in the field of car luxury, where non-Western manufacturers like China’s Hongki or Russia’s Aurus want their share of the pie. Would we in emerging countries prefer to see billionaires drive an electric Rolls Royce or a thermal Aurus Senate, Vladimir Putin’s favorite car?

Specter, the electric limousine of the future from Rolls & Royce
Specter, the electric limousine of the future from Rolls & Royce

Rolls-Royce has indeed also taken the trip, with Specter – yes as the title of a James Bond movie! -, a large coupe presented in September last year (but not revealed), which will be sold at the end of 2023. The brand based in Goodwood and owned by the German BMW since 1998, on the other hand, will ignore the hybrid and will run 100% electricity by 2030.

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In terms of supercars, ultra-powerful sports cars, Ferrari announced in April 2021 that it would launch at 100% electric, but without specifying a date. Same for Lamborghini. Porsche has already taken the plunge with its Taycan sedan launched in 2019, which has since been available in 4 versions.

Aston Martin Rapide E, the English brand's first electric car
Aston Martin Rapide E, the English brand’s first electric car

Aston Martin will offer the Rapide E, the electric version of its Rapide sedan, in 2025. As for the Maserati, the brand with Trident will this year present the 100% electric version of its MC 20, an overpowered berlinetta that will amaze enthusiasts. Finally, Bugatti will start racing. Bought last year by Mate Rimac – a 33-year-old Croatian nicknamed “The Carpathians’ Elon Musk” – the French brand was soon to unveil a derivative of its legendary model, Chiron, equipped with Rimac Nevera technology. Another French flagship, the Alpine, enters the dance in 2024 with a small SUV manufactured at the historic factory in Dieppe. What a symbol.

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