Bentley has pledged that by 2026 its vehicle lineup will be all electrified with either hybrid or battery-electric powertrains, and that by 2030 it’ll be exclusively BEV. However, with a legacy that dates back to its founding in 1919, Bentley also has a vested interest in seeing its classics remain drivable. That’s why the company is the latest to get into biofuels.
At the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed, every Bentley vehicle that climbed the hill did so with renewable fuels. That’s 32 runs with six different vehicles, from the W12 Batur that charged up the driveway in 55 seconds to the 103-year old Bentley EXP2. Built in 1920, it’s the oldest surviving Bentley. The best part of all is that no modifications had to be made to any of the cars, thus preserving the classics’ originality.
The biofuel is said to be 100% renewable and meets Europe’s EN228 standard that makes it effectively equivalent to gasoline. Unlike first-generation biofuels, which were derived from food crops, these second-gen biofuels use only waste from farming, forestry, and the food industry. The scraps are fermented to create ethanol, which is then dehydrated into ethylene, which is in turn converted to gasoline. Bentley estimates that these biofuels reduce CO2 emissions by 85% compared to just burning straight petroleum-based gasoline.
Bentley has also installed a 320-gallon biofuel tank at its Crewe headquarters location, which houses its design studio, R&D facility, and production lines. Notably, the site is also home to the firm’s Heritage Collection, all of which are kept in operable condition. It will use the biofuel to continue running its classics, as well as its press fleet.
The company estimates that 84% of all Bentleys ever built are still on the road. As we move into the age of electrification research into biofuels, similar to what Porsche is doing with synthetic fuels, will help keep historic cars on the road while keeping their essences in tact.