Skip to main content

Does a solar rooftop generator make Bentley a greener brand?

How does a super luxury vehicle maker like Bentley earn credit with the climate change crowd when their average vehicle gets 15-mpg combined and weighs roughly two and a half tons?
Posted: March 28, 2013 - 10:04PM
Author: Don Bain

Perhaps even more to the point, why should they even care, as we all understand why anyone with the ways and means might want one or even two.

Notably, Bentley is getting a combined 15-mpg out of eight model variants with engines from 8 to12-cylinders. We were actually surprised they averaged that high, so the brand is obviously pursuing higher efficiency, despite the fact the line is focused exclusively on luxurious appointments in ever more exceptional automobiles.

So maybe the brand is concerned with the environment after all, if you consider the addition of the largest solar collector in the United Kingdom on their factory roof.

The 20,000 solar panels cover over 8.5 acres above the assembly lines and will, at peak production levels, produce 40 percent of the automaker’s needed power, while annually saving the release of 2,500 metric tons of CO2.

The system is actually owned and operated by Lightsource Renewable Energy Limited, the UK’s leading generator of solar energy

“Unlikely as it may seem, our 1940s plant in Crewe is ideally situated to generate solar power as the ‘saw tooth’ factory roofs are facing south at an angle of 20 degrees,” remarked Michael Straughan, Bentley’s Member of the Board for Manufacturing.

“We take the sustainability of our products and factory extremely seriously and we are always looking for ways to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency. The panels will reduce our energy costs and help ensure that our manufacturing operations in Crewe are efficient, sustainable and globally competitive.”

So maybe we should cut the brand a little slack – Straughan’s comments seemed quite earnest on the brand’s behalf.

“The installation on Bentley’s factory demonstrates the tremendous potential for solar energy in the UK and is a fantastic example of how businesses can gain greater pricing certainty for the future whilst reducing their carbon footprint,” added Nick Boyle, CEO of Lightsource. “It is also remarkable what can be achieved in a short space of time and with no adverse impact on existing business activity.”

Want to know more about the potential of solar power?