Covid-19 Will Speed Up Shift To Electric Says Bentley Boss

Wed 17th Jun 2020

Pandemic lockdown may have dealt a serious blow to the automotive industry, but it has also allowed stakeholders to reassess their priorities says Bentley’s CEO.

Speaking at this week’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Summit, Adrian Hallmark, CEO of the iconic luxury British brand suggested cash strapped brands may be left with a choice of combustion or EV.

“We have had to ruthlessly prioritise our spend,” the Bentley boss said. “We’ve had to pull levers to control costs. Whatever we’ve done has been on the combustion engine. We have delayed or deleted certain derivatives.

“All of our plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles are full steam ahead. We and the industry may see this as a natural accelerator to green technologies. If you have to prioritise, where do you place your bets? More horsepower or more cell technology? The obvious answer is the latter.”

Bentley announced a major restructure of the business recently, part of which was cutting close to a quarter of its workforce. Hallmark admitted that the Covid-19 pandemic was the third major crisis the company has encountered in recent years, on the back of harsh WLTP regulations and the uncertainty of Brexit. But the Bentley CEO is confident that the company can come out of the downturn a stronger proposition.

He said: “We see it as a turning point, not as an end point. We can see a bold future beyond this crisis. We believe electrification and making business and drivetrain sustainable is both desirable and possible.

“We’ve fully committed to electrifying our business as fast as we can. We’ve made our factory sustainable, next will be our product range and then our supply chain.”