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Bentley State Limousine - royal LPG
Despite a 80-year-long tradition of building refined automobiles, Bentley had never before been contracted to produce a car for the royal family. For years Bentley's close relationship with Rolls-Royce, major provider of royal vehicles (besides Daimler) could have been an obstacle, but the barrier was gone once the two noble companies parted ways and were purchased by BMW (Rolls-Royce) and Volkswagen (Bentley). Soon enough „winged B” secured a contract to build a state limousine for Elizabeth II.
The car was delivered in 2002, in time for The Queen's 50th anniversary (Golden Jubilee) upon the British throne. Actually, two identical examples were crafted (with the other, also converted to run on LPG, stored away for emergency use), worth approx. $14 million each, although they were gifted to the monarch, not sold. LPG was used as fuel for several reasons – first of all to continue the theme started by the autogas Rolls, but also to further promote the fuel among Brits. The cost factor isn't meaningless either – the queen is rather thrifty. Taxpayers also enjoy the fact she doesn't spend too much.
Need more arguments to have a Bentley converted to LPG? The State Limousine itself, at 6,32 m in length and 1,78 m in height is a 4-tonne piece of argument. Beneath the bonnet there's a twin-turbocharged, 6,75-litre V8 engine by Rolls-Royce, whose fuel consumption is anything but modest. Her Majesty may not travel a lot (not by car at least), but the vehicle's longevity has been estimated at 25 years and 125 thousand miles (200 thousand km), so the limo should save at least as much money as it weighs.
Well, it could, but maybe never will, because as of 2009 the State Limousine – like all Bentleys at the time – has been modified to run on biofuel. This probably means it is now E85 (85% bioethanol, 15% petrol) friendly, but whether it can or cannot still use its autogas system remains unknown. Apparently, LPG is already popular enough in the UK and doesn't need royal support anymore, so Her Majesty switched to another fuel worth promoting. But the fact remains – Queen Elizabeth II used to have two state limousines fueled with autogas. What other monarch could beat this?
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