Bentley creates Flying Spur hybrid that can travel 733km using only renewable fuel

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Bentley has outlined plans to switch its model range to offer exclusively plug-in hybrid or battery electric vehicles by 2026, and full electric vehicles only by 2030. As a show of what that technology can do, an engineering prototype Flying Spur Hybrid has completed 733 km (455 miles) using only energy from waste straw and renewable fuels.

The Flying Spur Hybrid covered the required range to drive across Iceland in a single stint and entirely on renewable power, through a combination of 100% second generation biofuel and geothermally-sourced electricity available from the Icelandic power grid.

The journey is validation both of the grand touring range of Bentley’s new Hybrid – the second to be launched following the Bentayga Hybrid – and of Bentley’s research into biofuels that can be used without engine modification. The fuel used conforms to the same EN228 standard as ordinary pump gasoline, yet is created entirely from waste biomass (e.g. straw) at no cost to food production or the natural ecosystem. The combination of this fuel and the Flying Spur Hybrid’s intelligent electrified powertrain meant an overall reduction of 45% in CO2 emissions on a well-to-wheels basis over the course of the adventure. Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation for Iceland, witnessed the Flying Spur Hybrid’s journey and comments:

“It was great to see the car make the 733 km journey across the country on renewable electricity and green renewable fuel. Driving through the countryside with waterfalls on your left, and volcanos to the right you can visually see where the energy is generated directly, from nature. I think this is the best definition of sustainable energy. Iceland wants to be part of the environmental solution and help others use the knowledge and renewable sources we have here.”

The Flying Spur Hybrid represents Bentley’s next step on a journey to becoming a sustainable luxury mobility company, as laid out by the brand’s Beyond100 strategy. Market introductions across the world begin in 2022. This will see all models in the range offered with a hybrid powertrain by 2024, ahead of the company’s first full BEV by 2025.

Bentley’s Member of the Board for Engineering, Matthias Rabe, comments:

“With the launch of the Flying Spur Hybrid we now have a hybrid range at Bentley, and with this challenge we’ve proved the real benefit of a hybrid – the ability to have an unimpeded grand touring reach of more than 450 miles, while still having usable electric-only range for urban environments. It’s truly the best of both worlds, especially when the use of innovative second generation biofuel means a huge drop in CO2 emissions. We’ll continue working with such fuels in the coming months as part of our development process, with the end goal of a customer-facing solution.”

The 100% renewable, second generation biofuel used was developed by Coryton, which is supporting Bentley in renewable fuel research. The production process sees waste biomass (e.g. straw) broken down using fermentation, leading to the creation of ethanol. Dehydration of the ethanol converts it to ethylene, which can then be transformed into gasoline through the process of oligomerization – chaining short hydrocarbon molecules together to produce longer, more energy-dense ones.

The electricity used by the car’s hybrid system during the journey was sourced from Iceland’s 100% renewable grid. Iceland is a global leader in renewable energy production; 75% of the country’s electrical energy is produced via Hydroelectric and 25% from geothermal power. During its time in Iceland, the Flying Spur Hybrid was charged with electricity from the Svartsengi geothermal power plant.

The latest addition to Bentley’s new hybrid range demonstrates that hybridization does not compromise luxury or performance.

The new powertrain combines a 2.9-liter V6 petrol engine with an advanced electric motor, delivering a total of 536 bhp (544 PS) and 750 Nm (553 lb.ft) of torque – an additional 95 bhp in comparison to the Bentayga Hybrid. The new Flying Spur becomes the most efficient Bentley ever having the capability to cover 700 km when fully fuelled.

The latest hybrid model sends the Flying Spur V8 from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.3 secs. The new powertrain achieves a significant reduction in fuel consumption, whilst still providing the Bentley performance.

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