Bentley, Rolls, Ferrari… when luxury cars go electric

We made it this time. In 2025, the super-rich pollutants will be less on the roads. For two or three years, luxury car brands have announced one after the other 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 of England and the largest producer of V12 petrol engines, symbolizes both luxury and performance.

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

On January 25, everything changed with ” Five out of five plan “, five fully electric models in five years, a project announced by Adrian Hallmark, the head of the brand. As for the other models on offer, 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 motors and six thousand LEDs instead of the grille (see the picture). Electric versions of the Bentayga SUV and Continental sedan will follow in 2027, and its largest model, the Flying Spur, will follow in 2029.

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bees and hives

All will be based on the PPE platform (Premium Platform Electric) 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 range is therefore in battle order… organic. It must comply with new and future European environmental standards to survive. Bentley goes further by having installed 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 lined up at the Crewe site (SCREEN CAPTURE)

What makes environmental activists laugh? XXL beehives branded Bentley certainly have little to do with the frugality required to combat global warming. Luxury cars are – if we dare say so – fundamentally energy-intensive, both for their construction and for use. In addition, the batteries in the electric motors are very heavy. So imagine when it comes to powerful cars…

However, the switch from luxury to electric is still excellent news, firstly for employment. Because who says luxury, says highly qualified employee. Their know-how in the factories is equivalent 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 recovered 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 make the wealthy want to drive “clean”. The performance of the Model S, its sedan launched in 2012, but also the libertarian discourse of Elon Musk, 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 best electric models have in turn attributed to the electric a strong power of seduction.

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 (STEVE PARSONS / AFP)

At Prince Harry and Megan Markle’s wedding in 2018, the electrified Jaguar convertible they borrowed arguably promoted the environmental cause across the Channel more than the repeated speeches from Prince Charles, the groom’s father.

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

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

Spectre, the electric limousine of the future from Rolls & Royce
Spectre, the electric limousine of the future from Rolls&Royce (ROLLS&ROYCE)

Rolls-Royce has also taken the trip, with Specter – yes, as the title of a James Bond film! -, a large coupe presented last September (but not revealed), which will go on sale 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 go 100% electric by 2030.

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Ferrari, Aston Martin, Bugatti…

As for supercars, ultra-powerful sports cars, Ferrari announced in April 2021 that it would launch 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 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. Purchased last year by Mate Rimac – a 33-year-old Croatian nicknamed “the Elon Musk of the Carpathians” – the French brand should very soon unveil a derivative of its legendary model, the Chiron, equipped with Rimac Nevera technology. Another French flagship, Alpine, enters the dance in 2024 with a small SUV manufactured at the historic factory in Dieppe. What a symbol.

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