Geneva 2008: Bentley's future involves drawing straw
The big news from Bentley in Geneva wasn't really about today -- but stay tuned for 2012. Bentley plans to have its wheel-to-well measure of CO2 emissions down to less than 120g/km, from 400 g/km now. How? By lightening the cars, by engineering better transmissions, and through powerplants able to take advantage of 2nd generation biofuels, meaning cellulosic ethanol from straw and waste products. The best Bentley head Dr. Josef Paefgen would say for specifics was "everything is being considered." So there. Click through the jump to get the full press release and the science, and be thankful Bentley's given you something to look forward to.
BENTLEY OUTLINES ENVIRONMENTAL STRATEGY
4 March, 2008
On a well-to-wheel* basis, the entire Bentley model range will be capable of delivering less than 120 g/km of CO2 by 2012
Three-Stage Environmental Strategy Based On:
* Improved efficiency: Average fleet emissions to fall by at least 15% by 2012
* New powertrain in development to deliver 40% improvement in fuel economy
* Renewable fuel
* Flex-fuel engines to be introduced throughout the Bentley range by 2012
* First engines using renewable fuels to be available by next year
* Lower emissions and improved economy will be delivered while maintaining vehicle performance.
Geneva/Crewe, 4 March 2008
Bentley Motors today unveiled a far-reaching environmental strategy to reduce CO2 emissions and dramatically improve fuel economy.
Bentley will become the first manufacturer in its segment and one of the first in the world to deliver renewable-fuel vehicles throughout its range, along with substantial powertrain improvements. The strategy follows years of engineering studies and intensive product development, exploring alternative environmental technologies in depth. The renewable fuel programme reflects Bentley's commitment to the environment while maintaining vehicle performance.
Franz-Josef Paefgen, Bentley Chief Executive, said: "This is a major step in the history of Bentley, reflecting the increasing expectation from our customers around the world for performance motoring with fuel efficient engines. We will set a benchmark in our segment of the industry by making every engine capable of running on renewable fuels, reducing emissions and improving fuel efficiency throughout our fleet."
Dr. Paefgen said the initiative will help Bentley as a corporation to address the two-fold global issue of CO2 emissions and longer-term fuel availability, as part of its corporate social responsibility.
"Bentley does not believe that short-term measures are an appropriate answer to these global issues, and is basing its strategy on a long-term vision," he added.
Efficiency improvements will be achieved first through the application of innovative technology to its 8 and 12 cylinder engines, including enhanced engine management, and new, improved transmissions and drivelines, as well as through weight reduction. As part of its commitment to reduce CO2 output on every new model, these efforts will lead to at least a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2012.
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 beginning by next year.
"It is our conviction that renewable fuels, in particular second-generation biofuels, have strong potential," said Dr.Paefgen. "On a well-to-wheel basis, such fuels can deliver a consistently high net CO2 reduction of up to 90%.
The benefits of second-generation biofuels are significant:
· They deliver a massive reduction in total CO2 emissions
· They do not compete with food requirements as a raw material base
· The use of biomass waste for fuel requires minimal additional land use
· They deliver much higher yields than first generation crop-based fuels
"By preparing our engines at an early stage for these fuels, we believe we will help accelerate their adoption, as the supply and market for them develop. Taken together, the measures we are announcing will make the entire Bentley fleet capable of delivering less that 120 g/km by 2012," Dr. Paefgen added.
About Bentley Motors
Bentley, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, occupies a leading position in the luxury vehicle market, combining modern technology, craftsmanship and bespoke manufacturing capabilities. The UK carmaker sold more than 10,000 vehicles in 2007, around the world, in both emerging and established markets. Overall volume grew by 7%, with increases in almost all major markets: +7% in the UK, +4% in North America, +7% in Europe, +18% in the Asia Pacific region and +93% in China.
* Well-To-Wheel: the widely accepted measure of energy efficiency has been defined by European Commission advisers as "the integration of all steps required to produce and distribute a fuel (starting from the primary energy resource) and use it in a vehicle".
Source: European Commission Institute for Environment and Sustainability WELL-to-WHEELS Report Version 2c, March 2007
Renewable or Biofuels are fuels synthetically produced from organic material. The main biofuels are bio-ethanol, which can be used in gasoline engines, and synthetic diesels. Biofuels have the potential for CO2 reduction because when they burn they release CO2 absorbed during the growth of the plants used in fuel production.
Availability of renewable fuels is expected to grow rapidly in coming years. According to McKinsey, the management consultants, first and second-generation bio-fuels could account for almost a quarter of global energy requirements by 2030. Importantly for the fuel suppliers, bio-fuel production costs are expected to fall rapidly over the same period, while yields – in terms of fuel consumption per hectare – are expected to increase.
Flex-fuel (also known as FFV, flexible-fuel or dual-fuel) describes engine technology which enables vehicles to run on any mix of gasoline and ethanol. A sensor in the fuel supply circuit detects the blending ratio of the fuel Flex-fuel systems can run on biofuels where available, gasoline where not, or on any mix of the two.
First-Generation Biofuels are largely derived from the fruit or grain of the plant. Cultivation can compete with food production. First generation biofuels still represent an important step in the right direction. Large amounts of such biofuels are being produced in countries such as Brazil, where the CO2 balance is extremely positive.
Second-generation biofuels are produced from agricultural residue and waste materials (biomass), have a high yield per unit area and the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90%. The production of these fuels does not compete with food production. There is also talk of third-generation biofuels, made from genetically-modified micro-organisms or intensively farmed algae. Production methods for these are, however, in their infancy.