Notes From Pebble Beach:
A 'green' Bentley Mulsanne: True or false?
During the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance awards presentation, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jay Leno auctioned off the very first Bentley Mulsanne, the marque's new ultraluxury (a sort of redundant term, coming from Bentley) sedan. The Governator's repeated references to green technologies in the automotive industry, flex fuels and how Bentley was helping to lead the way into the future got us thinking.
We at MSN Autos had enjoyed a sneak peek of the car from its designer Dirk van Braeckel the previous day and, surprisingly, he never mentioned that the Mulsanne might go green. In fact, he didn’t even hint at it.
I decided to contact Bentley's U.S. rep when I got home to see if any other information was available. While staying fairly vague about the whole thing (the details of the Mulsanne’s V8 engine will not be released until the Frankfurt Auto Show, in September), he did encourage me to "rest assured that the Mulsanne will support our environmental commitments." Those, according to Bentley, include:
- Fleet emissions to fall at least 15 percent by 2012
- 40 percent improvement in fuel economy via a new powertrain in development
- Flex-fuel engines introduced throughout the Bentley range by 2012
- First engines using renewable fuels to be available this year
Those are all admirable goals, though the reality is that there will be too few multihundred-thousand-dollar Mulsannes on the road to make a discernible difference to the environment. The good news, though, is that at least embracing new, efficient technologies and alternative fuels has reached the upper echelons of the automotive world.
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