Right now, across the United States and Europe, there’s a shortage of drivers that are both qualified and willing to drive tractor trailers. These truckers, and their sought-after commercial driver’s licenses, are leaving trucking in droves to find jobs with better pay and working conditions. Perhaps they’re all pivoting to the chauffer industry — because if Bentley’s line of luxury cars and SUVs gets any heavier, those CDLs will soon be a legal necessity to drive them in Europe.
A report from Australian news site Carsales reveals that Bentley has been actively lobbying the European Commission to raise the maximum weight limit on a standard, non-commercial driver’s license in Europe. That’s because Bentley’s latest model, the Bentayga Extended Wheelbase, has a gross weight of 3,250 kg, or 7,165 lbs. In Europe, a standard driver’s license allows you to operate vehicles up to a maximum gross weight of 3,350 kg, or 7,716 lbs. That extra-long Bentayga is cutting things awfully close.
European driver’s license laws are all based on gross vehicle weight rating (or gross vehicle mass, as the Europeans put it), which is the total of the vehicle’s own weight, plus the maximum amount of passengers and cargo it’s designed to haul.
Bentley isn’t in trouble just yet, but as Carsales points out, the luxury brand’s pivot to electric vehicles (with their associated battery weight) will likely mean that future products will require a commercial license to legally operate in Europe. Bentley product line director Chris Cole told Carsales that the company is already lobbying lawmakers to change Europe’s driving regulations. “There must be a critical change with licensing,” Cole told Carsales. “At the moment, with current technology, the gross vehicle weight will be hitting the [license] ceiling of all of Europe [...] That’s an active conversation with the certification authorities as the situation changes.”
For the European Bentley buyers reading this — of which I’m sure there are many — the time to start equipping your staff with CDLs is now. You don’t want to be stuck rolling up to the country club in last year’s Bentley, do you?