LONDON - You could argue that Rolls Royce and battery power were always destined to be a match made in heaven. But why has it taken so long for the prestigious British carmaker to go electric?
“We have not been satisfied that available technology could support the Rolls-Royce experience. Until now,” Rolls Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said at a press briefing on Wednesday. Müller-Ötvös announced that the firm’s first electric car would be launched in 2023 and that by 2030 all Rolls-Royce products would be fully-electric.
Although we’ll have to wait until next year to see it in full, Rolls-Royce has released a few teaser images which imply that the company’s first EV, which will be called Spectre, will be related to the next-generation Rolls-Royce Wraith.
CEO Müller-Ötvös confirmed that the new EV would be based around the company’s latest scalable aluminium architecture that made its debut with the Phantom in 2017. In the future this architecture will support a variety of powertrains, from internal combustion to fully electric.
“To this end, our forthcoming electric car benefits from the Rolls-Royce architecture and therefore the extraordinary experience of a Rolls-Royce on the road,” Müller-Ötvös said. “Free of any (BMW) group platform sharing strategy, we were able to integrate our plans for an electric powertrain into the architecture’s initial design and ensure that this extraordinary new product meets the extremely high expectations of our clients.”
No further information about the Rolls-Royce Spectre has been released as yet, but given the brand’s reputation for delivering only the best that money can buy, you can safely bet that its performance and driving range will surpass the current norm.
Interestingly it was Rolls Royce co-founder Charles Royce who prophesied an electric future for the automotive industry as far back as 1900.
“The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean,” Rolls said back then. “There is no smell or vibration, and they should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged. But for now, I do not anticipate that they will be very serviceable – at least for many years to come.”
Müller-Ötvös said that Charles Rolls’ prophecy had been the subject of constant consideration for Rolls Royce, but until now the company had not been satisfied that the technology was feasible for its cars.
“This fundamental change in our powertrain technology requires that we challenge every single aspect of the product before we offer it to the most discerning and demanding individuals in the world – our Rolls-Royce clients,” Müller-Ötvös said.
“To do this, we have conceived the most demanding testing programme in Rolls-Royce’s history. We will cover 2.5 million kilometres – a simulation of more than 400 years of use for a Rolls-Royce, on average – and we will travel to all four corners of the world to push this new motor car to the limit.”