Colin-on-Cars – Powered by straw

Biofuel created from waste straw has kicked up the search for alternative energy a notch by powering a Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid across Iceland in a single stint – some 733 kilometres.

The fuel used conforms to the same EN228 standard as ordinary pump fuel, yet is created entirely from waste biomass (eg 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.

Bentley’s Member of the Board for Engineering, Matthias Rabe, says: “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 720 kilometres, 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 was developed by Coryton, who is supporting Bentley in renewable fuel research. The production process sees waste biomass 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 oligomerisation – 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%t 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.

The powertrain combines a 2,9-litre V6 petrol engine with an electric motor, delivering a total of 394 kW and 750 Nm  of torque – an additional 69 kW in comparison to the Bentayga Hybrid. The latest hybrid model gives little away to the Flying Spur V8 in acceleration, passing 100 km/hh from a standstill in 4,3 seconds.

To provide further feedback to the driver, the driver instruments include additional information showing when the car is operating solely in EV drive, regenerating whilst deaccelerating or using the combustion engine.

Inside the cabin, the automatic Start-Stop switch has been replaced with a control for the three E Modes – EV Drive, Hybrid Mode and Hold Mode, enabling the driver to manage the battery usage during a journey.

EV Drive mode is engaged as soon as the car is switched on, and maximises the electric driving experience. This is ideal for city driving and for shorter journeys.

The flow of energy can also be displayed via the infotainment screen where statistics can be seen and the timers for charging of the vehicle can be set. Additional e-motion information is available to the driver via the instrument panel, heads up display and centre screen, including range, battery level and charging information..

Bentley Motors has outlined plans to become a global leader in sustainable luxury mobility with further details of its Beyond100 strategy. With the promise to offer truly sustainable luxury, Bentley will reinvent every aspect of its business to become an end-to-end carbon neutral organisation as it embarks on its second century.

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