The Bentley: as English as 12 pints of Stella, a curry and a fight and soon to be as environmentally friendly as a summer breeze from Lapland. No longer merely vehicles for shuttling the upper classes between lacrosse and gin, the Bentley will soon be more efficient and more biofuels-y.
Greenbang will let Bentley boss Dr Franz Josef Paefgen do the talking. Here’s his speech giving the lowdown from the Geneva Motor Show:
I can announce today that, on a well-to-wheel basis, the entire Bentley model range will become capable of delivering less than 120 g/km of CO2 by 2012. The well-to-wheel measurement is the only accurate way to measure the total energy expended from every step of the life cycle: from producing and distributing a fuel to its use in a vehicle.
So how will we achieve this? Our strategy will be implemented in stages, the first of which is expected to reduce overall tailpipe CO2 from new vehicles by at least 15% by 2012.
These efficiency improvements will be achieved first through the application of innovative technology to our 8 and 12 cylinder engines, including enhanced engine management, and new, improved transmissions and drivelines, as well as through weight reduction. This is part of our commitment to reduce CO2 output on every new model.
Secondly, a new powertrain will be introduced by 2012, delivering a 40% reduction in fuel consumption, while maintaining current levels of performance.
Thirdly, all engines across the entire range will become compatible with the use of renewable fuels by 2012, with the initial rollout starting next year. This fuel change has the potential to offer massive savings in CO2.
Over many generations, Bentley has built a reputation for superb performance, and the measures we are announcing today will in no way alter the character or performance of our vehicles. As another milestone in the history of Bentley, they reflect the increasing expectation from our customers around the world for performance motoring with fuel-efficient engines.
We occupy a leading position in the luxury segment of the automotive industry. We will become the first manufacturer in this segment and one of the first in the world to deliver vehicles capable of running on 100% renewable fuels throughout the fleet.
It is our conviction that renewable fuels, in particular second-generation biofuels, have immediate and strong potential. Such fuels:
• do not compete with food production, and require minimum additional land use, since they are derived from biomass, a waste product.
• They also deliver much higher yields than first generation crop-based fuels
• and on a well-to-wheel basis, they can deliver a consistently high net CO2 reduction of up to 90%.
By preparing our engines at an early stage for renewable fuels, we believe we will help accelerate their adoption, as the supply and market for them develops.