Bentley to Retire Roaring 12-Cylinder Engines in Electric Shift

Bentley Motors Ltd. will ax the roaring 12-cylinder combustion engines that shaped much of the British luxury-car maker’s 100-year history to focus on electric vehicles, the latest seismic automotive shift driven by stricter emissions rules.

Bentley will offer only hybrid and electric cars by 2026, and switch its entire lineup to fully-electric vehicles four years later, the Crewe, England-based manufacturer said Thursday in a statement.

The company will become “a new, sustainable, wholly ethical role model for luxury,” Chief Executive Officer Adrian Hallmark said.

Bentley’s accelerated transformation toward battery-powered vehicles is part of a $40 billion push by its German parentVolkswagen AG, which is developing the industry’s biggest lineup of electric cars as it seeks to challengeTesla Inc.

For starters, Bentley will add two plug-in hybrid models next year. The company had already announced that every model line will offer a hybrid version by 2023, with the company’s first fully-electric model to be introduced in 2025. The brand wants to make its operations carbon-neutral by 2030.

Volkswagen already has rolled out the Porsche Taycan, the VW ID.3 and the Audi e-Tron models as part of its target to offer 75 electric cars by the end of the decade. The company’s CEO Herbert Diess told Bloombergearlier Thursday about Bentley’s electric push.

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