New design boss charged with Bentley’s EV future
Former Crewe man swaps Volvo for Bentley as it ponders new battery-electric era
By Matt Bird / Friday, 26 May 2023 / Loading comments
After 10 years away from the brand, Robin Page has returned to Bentley. Previously Head of Interior Design from 2001 to 2013, he will now assume the position of Director of Design. His most recent roles were with Volvo, including of Head of Global Design and UX. Page succeeds Tobias Suhlmann, who, after only a short stint, went over to McLaren to be its Chief Design Officer.
Naturally, any senior position at a company like Bentley is a big role, but never more so than with the industry in such a period of upheaval. Decades of automotive design heritage and tradition must now be incorporated into entirely new vehicle architectures; an EV design that’s too radical, that embraces the opportunities of the technology too wholeheartedly, might alienate customers that have been with the brand for many years. At the same time, one that plays it too safe risks pitching the company as staid and unimaginative when the world around it is moving at breakneck speed. Designing a car for years in the future was always difficult; the era of electrification surely makes the job even tougher still.
Bentley has already hinted at its future design direction with the Batur – officially its job was showcasing ‘a new design DNA that will ultimately guide the design of Bentley’s future range of BEVs’ – so it’ll be interesting to see how Page and his team evolves that blueprint to fit a new series of production models. Something to rival the Rolls-Royce Spectre, for example, as the world moves from huge GTs with 12-cylinder engines to those with batteries and motors. A team of around 50 will work on everything Bentley with Page as their lead: interior, exterior, colour and trim for current cars, future cars, show cars and concepts. They’re going to be busy alright.
Robin Page said of his new role: “Having worked for 17 years at Bentley, I have always held a strong connection to the brand and kept a close eye on its evolution. To return and have the opportunity to help set the design language for the first Bentley BEVs, redefining the rules while keeping continuity to the past and present, is a challenge I am privileged to lead.” Given Bentley has pledged to be EV only by 2030, expect to see the fruits of his design labour in the not-too-distant future.
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