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Bentley Announces Unexpected Green Initiative

Bentley has stepped up its green game—according to Autoblog, the luxury vehicle manufacturer has just installed beehives in its Crewe factory. In a press release, Bentley revealed that it put the two national hives at the edge of its site and surrounded the area with wildflowers.

It has named its newest employees the “flying bees,” in homage to the “flying B” emblem found on Bentley vehicles. Between them, the two hives are home to 120,000 Apis Mellifera honey bees.

Why bees?

According to Board of Manufacturing member Peter Bosch, Bentley has been looking for more ways to improve its carbon footprint ever since it built the U.K.’s largest solar carport on its site—a move which ensured that all of its electricity was either certified green or solar.

Because the population of honey bees is in decline, the goal of these new beehives is to make use of the under-utilized grassland on the Bentley site while increasing local biodiversity.

The flying bees are being bred and cared for by local beekeeping experts. According to Bentley, the bees are already doing very well and are on track to provide its first honey harvest by the end of the summer. In total, each hive has the potential to create approximately 50 jars of Bentley honey.

Following in Ford’s footsteps

Large businesses installing beehives may sound surprising, but there is actually quite a bit of precedent for it. In 2018, Ford installed six honeycomb-shaped hives along one of the walking paths at its global headquarters in Michigan. These hives are home to 360,000 bees, which were provided by Michigan State University research associate Meghan Milbrath. 

The idea for Ford’s beehives came from Cormac Wright, a member of Ford’s IT department. According to Wright, he got the idea when he heard about the hives installed by the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C.

In fact, the Fairmont was ahead of the curve when it came to hosting bee apiaries—the hotel started the big-business beekeeping trend back in 2009, inspiring multiple other D.C. hotels to take the leap as well. And now, it seems, the trend is still going strong, with both Ford and Bentley jumping on board in support of the bees.

Bentley’s other green initiatives

While the new hives are perhaps the most unique environmental move on the part of Bentley, it is not the only green initiative being implemented. Bosch has stated that one of Bentley’s major goals is to work toward achieving carbon-neutral operations.

In fact, the company recently stated that it had become “the first automotive manufacturer to achieve re-certification of the triple Carbon Trust Water Standard for carbon, waste and water.” 

Bentley has also announced plans to begin moving toward a larger lineup of electric cars. By 2023, the auto manufacturer hopes to have created hybrid versions of every single one of its cars. The first of these vehicles is the Bentayga hybrid, which is a plug-in version of Bentley’s current SUV.

No timeline has been released for the rest of the hybrid lineup, but Car and Driver speculates that some of the next conversions will include the Continental GT Coupe, the Flying Spur, and the Mulsanne.

Additionally, Bentley has stated that by 2025 it hopes to have a fully electric model ready to be released. The plans for this vehicle, the EXP 12 Speed 6e, were first released at the 2017 Geneva Motorshow. While details for this new electric vehicle are still scarce, it should be able to travel approximately 200 miles on a single charge and have an option for wireless charging.