In this week's round-up of automotive gossip, Bentley tells use why though it's interested in autonomous tech it won't lead the revolution, we hear how Renault's new car-sharing brand will embrace non-traditional drivers and Swindon has a proposal for Elon Musk.
Bentley won't pioneer AVs
Bentley boss Adrian Hallmark has talked up autonomous functions but said the company won’t be pioneering in the field: “We want to be a close follower but not a pioneer, to avoid all the boring bits.” During the same interview, he called hydrogen “a great idea” but said “the quantities of energy required for its production and the challenges of storing and transporting it mean it doesn’t make sense yet”.
Renault shares the love
The Renault Group's new Mobilize brand has been launched as a separate entity to Renault, Dacia and Alpine because it’s “for people who aren’t interested in owning a car”, according to design boss Laurens van den Acker. He said the brand’s customers will “not have the time, patience or money to have a garage, park their car or pay for maintenance”, so “the business model needs to be treated in a different way”. The Mobilize EZ-1 electric two-seater was designed specifically for shared use. It is believed to serve as an indirect successor to the niche-appeal Renault Twizy.
Swindon courts Tesla
Swindon's council leader has written to Tesla CEO Elon Musk to ask him to consider taking over the town’s Honda plant, which is due to close in July. David Renard called it a “prime site” with good transport links and suggested that its “biggest selling point” is Honda’s 5000 staff, who will all need new jobs when the plant closes. Tesla has rapidly expanded its global manufacturing footprint in the past few years, and its first European site is now being built in Germany.