New role at Charge Automotive, London

posted in: Appointments

In September 2019, I took a short break from Makkina and started working for Charge Automotive, a new EV company based in the heart of London. I joined a rapidly growing team of highly talented individuals responsible for the development of the company’s 1960’s Electric Mustang concept. We are now tasked with developing and delivering 499 of these cars for production and sale to a select number of individuals.

Company profile as on the Charge Cars website; www.charge.cars

“Charge Automotive is a British company based in London. Our team has extensive experience in the development of luxury and high performance vehicles. Our engineers contributed to various projects for McLaren Automotive, Jaguar Land Rover and F1 Racing Teams. Moreover, we are passionate about eternal automobile classics!

We redefine great classic cars with advanced electric technology while preserving their iconic design. We believe in an emission-free future while giving ultimate performance to epic autolegends.”

I have literally just started this position so there is little to say… though I can tell you that it’s a highly exciting and stimulating environment to be in. And completely unlike any other position I have had in the past!

Bentley re-imagines the future of Grand Touring on its 100th Birthday

posted in: Unveilings

Bentley Motors celebrated its 100th birthday by unveiling its vision of the future of luxury mobility at the home of Bentley in Crewe. The Bentley EXP 100 GT is a physical embodiment of the future Bentley brand, reimagining Grand Touring for the future.

Beyond mere mobility, the Bentley EXP 100 GT concept car will enhance the owner’s Grand Touring experience, whether driving or being driven autonomously.

Designed from the inside out and taking advantage of an all-electric platform, Bentley EXP 100 GT reimagines the Grand Tourer for the world of 2035. This is a world of shared luxury experiences where passenger and driver enjoy equal status in their enjoyment of their extraordinary journeys. The cars’ presence and impressive exterior proportions are reminiscent of many of Bentley’s historic Grand Tourers but take these luxury hallmarks into the future. The result is a future vision commensurate with Bentley’s status as the world’s most sought after luxury brand.

Adrian Hallmark, Bentley Chairman and CEO, said:

“Today, on our Centenary, we demonstrate our vision of the future of our Marque, with the Bentley EXP 100 GT – a modern and definitive Grand Tourer designed to demonstrate that the future of luxury mobility is as inspirational and aspirational as the last 100 years. Bentley has, and will continue to enhance and enrich every single journey and the lives of every single person who travels in, or has the honour to be a part of creating our extraordinary products.”

Stefan Sielaff, Director of Design added:

“The Bentley EXP 100 GT represents the kind of cars we want to make in the future. Like those iconic Bentleys of the past, this car connects with its passengers’ emotions and helps them experience and safeguard the memories of the really extraordinary journeys they take.” 

Unfortunately I had left Bentley Motors before this concept was unveiled. However I did get to play a central role in the design and development of the GT for several months. Having considerable involvement in the early concept development, platform proportions, and the final design proposal before l leaving the company late last year. It was amazing several months later to see the actual car. What an amazing achievement by the team at Bentley. Well done everyone!

New role at Makkina, London

posted in: Appointments

In October 2018 I was offered the opportunity to work at Makkina in Notting Hill, London. After 14 or so years of working for OEM’s it was exciting to switch things up a gear and work for this world renowned Automotive Design Consultancy led by its founder Michael Ani. I joined a team of extremely talented designers and modellers working closely with an impressive array of international clientele.

Company profile as on the Makkina website;  www.makkina.com

“Makkina was founded in 1998 by Michael Ani following many years’ experience in the automotive industry, with a number of concept and production cars already to his name, his goal was to establish a creative automotive design consultancy which should also work hand in hand with the OEM’s. In operating closely and discreetly as an extension of their own design facilities. Makkina has established strong links with its clients, who include OEM’s in Europe, Asia and the USA. Projects are undertaken from early ideation sketch phase, through digital and physical modelling, through to full-size prototype.”

During my short time there I have worked numerous projects from early concepts through to digital and physical models. Due to the discreet nature of the work we do at Makkina it is not possible to talk about this in any more detail. But rest assured it is fast paced, exciting and extremely varied!

Bentayga breaks SUV record at Pikes Peak

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The Bentley Bentayga has demonstrated its outstanding performance credentials by claiming the outright record for a production SUV at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Driven by two-time champion Rhys Millen (NZ), the Bentayga completed the 12.42-mile course in just 10:49.9 – taking nearly two minutes off the previous record by averaging 66.5 mph. Climbing almost 5,000 ft through 156 corners, the Bentayga deployed its unique combination of a 600 bhp, 900 Nm W12 engine, adaptive air suspension, active electric 48V anti-roll control and carbon ceramic brakes to set a stunning new benchmark.

Bentley’s Member of the Board for Sales & Marketing, Chris Craft, comments:

“This record proves the outstanding dynamic ability of the Bentayga – demonstrating again how Bentley Motors is the only automotive company in the world that can combine pinnacle luxury and breath-taking performance. Congratulations to all at Bentley Motorsport and to Rhys Millen and his team.”

Speaking immediately after his run, Rhys Millen commented:

“What an incredible machine. To take a luxury SUV with minimal modifications and be able to drive up this course in under 11 minutes is a huge testament to the performance and level of engineering in the Bentayga. I had a great run – the car was planted all the way up and gave me the confidence I needed to push hard. I’m delighted to take the SUV record for Bentley and for everyone that’s been involved in this project.”

Bentley reveals new Continental GT3 Race Car

posted in: Unveilings

Bentley Motorsport is today unveiling an all-new Continental GT3 race car, currently in development for the 2018 motorsport season.

The second-generation Continental GT3 is the latest dedicated race car in an acclaimed Bentley Motorsport lineage that includes the 4½ Litre, Speed Six and Speed 8 Le Mans winners. The first-generation Continental GT3 has proven to be a championship-winning endurance racer, scoring 120 podiums and 45 wins across 528 races around the world to date.

Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush comments:

“After four years of success with our Continental GT3, we’re excited to reveal our second-generation car. The new car leaves no area or system untouched in the search for even better performance, and the early test results are promising. The new Continental GT road car has proved to be a great starting point for the development of a new racer, and the engineering development work is true to Bentley’s impeccable standards.”

It was a great honour to be involved in the development of this car. This was the first race car for any brand that I had worked on, and it was a fascinating and exciting experience. It was also the first time I had worked with Bentley Motorsport who were a great team of people, hopefully I will get the opportunity again!

The all-new Bentley Continental GT announced

posted in: Unveilings

Bentley Motors has today announcing full details of its new Continental GT, the definitive Grand Tourer. Designed, engineered and handcrafted in Britain, the new third-generation Bentley Continental GT combines spirited, focused performance with handcrafted luxury and cutting-edge technology, to create the finest Grand Tourer ever produced.

Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, said:

“Bentley has been at the forefront of luxury Grand Touring for nearly one hundred years. The new, third-generation Continental GT is the pinnacle of our design and engineering achievements and marks the next step in Bentley’s journey.

“We are the world leader in luxury mobility and our products and services define new luxury in the automotive world. The new Continental GT encapsulates our desire to innovate as well as celebrate our heritage and take the Bentley ownership experience to the next, unparalleled level.”

The muscular exterior design, created using revolutionary technology, results in a lightweight, yet stiff, body. The engine is positioned further back to improve weight distribution, resulting in driver-focused, dynamic performance.

Offering four seats and improved luggage capacity for genuine real-world usability, the new Bentley Continental GT’s luxurious cabin is packed with exquisite details such as a new ‘diamond in diamond’ leather design. In addition, significant work has gone into harmonising the extensive portfolio of 15 colours across hides and carpets.

The interior design of the Continental GT is tailored specifically to the modern luxury customer, with unrivalled attention to detail that creates an effortless ownership experience. The cabin seamlessly integrates cutting-edge onboard technology with the finest handcrafted natural materials. The result is an exquisite, harmonised, connected and luxurious space.

The new Continental GT will make its global debut at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show between 12 and 24 September, 2017.

This is now the second time I have been involved in the design and development of Bentley’s iconic Continent GT. Having now worked on the second and third generation of the car. Though this is the first time I have been heavily involved from the outset, having considerable involvement in the early concept development, platform proportions, and the final design proposal as it moved towards production. It great to finally see it in sheet metal and to be working with Bentley in this increasingly exciting time in the company’s history.

Implementing Virtual Reality into the Design Process

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Over the past few months Bentley Motors has seen a rapid rise in the use of Virtual Reality (VR) within the design process. With the increasing advancements in hardware power coupled with the new HTC Vive headsets and associated technology, Bentley’s designers and modellers have found that VR is now playing a key role in the product development of its new vehicles.

We can now walk around full-size digital models of cars and explore their overall volumes, assess their surface forms and highlights in a way that could never be realised before. This is true game-changers for designers and digital modellers alike.

One of the biggest shortcomings of digital design was scale and context. On a conventional monitor or powerwall it was impossible to truly visualise the scale of the car you were building. But seeing your CAD model rendered full-size in VR has demolished that shortcoming. The VR output from Autodesk VRED is very convincing and is allowing automotive design to progress at speeds and cost-savings that couldn’t previously be achieved. Decisions on exterior volumes and proportions can now be confidently taken without the need for expensive physical models. Likewise the same can be said about various design proposals.

We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg now, but VR is going to permutate all areas of car design, colour and trim specs, customer experience and so forth.This is a very exciting time.

Bentley EXP10 Speed 6e premier at the Geneva Motor Show

posted in: Unveilings

Bentley unveils its latest concept in early March at the Salon International De L’auto 2017. This is officially called EXP 12 Speed 6e concept and showcases Bentley’s ambition to define the electric luxury segment.

Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, said:

“The EXP 12 Speed 6e is a concept to show that Bentley is defining electric motoring in the luxury sector, with the appropriate technology, high quality materials and refinement levels you’d expect from a true Bentley. This concept enables us to engage with luxury customers and gather feedback on our approach.”

“Bentley is committed to offering an electric model in its future portfolio and we are interested to receive feedback on this concept,” Dürheimer concluded.

Bentley underlined that an all-electric model will not compromise the quality, refinement and high performance levels expected of the luxury brand. These renowned Bentley characteristics such as immediate, effortless surge of torque and grand touring range will be combined with new high performance technology such as rapid inductive charging and state-of-the-art on board concierge-style services for an effortless ownership experience.

Bentley believes that the concept will open discussions with luxury car buyers of the future – millennials, members of Generation C and the rising affluent in developing economies – to understand the desired expectations from a future electric luxury car ownership experience.

The luxury brand’s electric car strategy includes the introduction of PHEV models across the Bentley model range over the next few years, starting with the Bentayga in 2018.

Like the EXP 10 Speed 6 before it, this was a project that I was heavily involved in. Working closely with John Paul Gregory, Head of Exterior Design, I was instrumental in designing and developing this all electric cabriolet version. It is a car that I am very proud of, and one that I hope signifies a new era for Bentley Motors.

HRH The Princess Royal opens new Bentley Research & Development Centre

posted in: News

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal today visited the Bentley Motors headquarters in Crewe to open a new research and development centre – 25 Pyms Lane – which is home to more than 400 Bentley engineers.

The new building covers 7,200 square metres over four storeys and was constructed in just seven months. The building marks the first stage of Bentley’s headquarter expansion which continues to develop the site as an industry-leading, modern, efficient manufacturing facility.

Commenting on the visit, Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley Chairman and CEO, said:

“Our research and development centre, 25 Pyms Lane, is where a new generation of Bentleys will be developed, which will continue our commitment to luxury, performance, quality and engineering excellence.”

“We are honoured that we could welcome Her Royal Highness once again to our expanding headquarters, not just to celebrate the continued evolution of our site, but to demonstrate first-hand the skill of our engineers, craftspeople and trainees here in Crewe.”

Before unveiling a plaque to officially open the new building, The Princess Royal visited Bentley’s flagship showroom, CW1 House, and then toured the main production facility where the company’s four model lines, Bentayga, Continental, Flying Spur and Mulsanne are handcrafted.

Her Royal Highness also met both apprentices and colleagues working on bespoke training islands in wood and leather, learning more about Bentley’s innovative approach to training young people and continuously improving the skills of colleagues in all areas of the business.

Bentley’s manufacturing apprenticeship programme has recently received national recognition by The Princess Royal herself, being named outstanding by the inaugural Princess Royal Training Awards, created to recognise learning and skills development in industry. Her Royal Highness will host the Awards ceremony at St James’s Palace in November.

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