Does Rolls-Royce Need To Produce An All-Electric Car?
It’s no secret that increasingly stringent emissions regulations are forcing automakers to adapt. And while efficiency has always been a top priority for large-volume commuter vehicles, expensive luxury brands seem to be struggling to make the adjustment. Traditionally, top-shelf marques have favored opulence and excess over more economical alternatives, but now that might not be an option. As such, Rolls-Royce appears to be once again considering production of an all-electric car.
According to Automotive News, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos recently said, “Suppose we find a battery technology that can offer ranges that are acceptable to our customers. I can definitely imagine a fully electric Rolls-Royce.”
Over the past five years, all-electric vehicles have seen rapid growth in terms of development, support, and demand. Battery technology has improved immensely, bringing greater capacity, faster recharge times, and lower cost, while public charging station networks continue to expand their reach. All these factors help justify the move towards electrification.
However, Muller-Otvos went on to say that no final decision has been made on whether or not Rolls-Royce would go forward with an all-electric (or even hybrid) vehicle in the future.
Continue reading for the full story.
Why it matters
This isn’t the first time Rolls-Royce has played with the idea of offering an all-electric vehicle. In 2011, the marque offered up an electrified concept of the Phantom called the 102EX, which was loaded with all the luxury and classy good looks as the conventional vehicle, but with a battery-powered drivetrain for motivation. Replacing the standard 6.75-liter V-12 was a 71-kWh battery pack and two electric motors, producing a total output of 375 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque – good enough for an eight-second 0-to-60 time, 100-mph top speed and a range of 125 miles per charge.
While the 102EX was certainly one of Rolls-Royce’s most forward-looking projects, it never got off the ground. But that was in 2011, practically a lifetime ago in terms of EV technology development, and since then, we’ve seen numerous all-electric concepts and production models from other top-name brands, most recently with the Porsche Mission E and Tesla Model X.
Perhaps this time around, Rolls-Royce will push the issue.
Such a creation would bring the same style and panache that we’ve come to expect from the brand
The marque’s head of design, Giles Taylor, certainly seems to think electric power deserves another look. Speaking to the Australian publication Motoring at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Taylor said that while Rolls-Royce currently has a “beautifully refined V-12” on offer, most customers don’t care what kind of drivetrain sits under the hood, adding, “we can’t be this dinosaur that thinks this V-12 can be the only thing in 10-12 years hence.”
Taylor also said that the overall Rolls-Royce design would not change due to the adoption of electrification, but would rather adapt to the introduction of new materials and manufacturing processes.
Additional direction might also come from BMW, which purchased Rolls-Royce in 1998. The Bavarians have pushed for widespread electrification for years, offering up green vehicles like the i8 and i3, as well as upcoming plug-in versions of its more popular models like the 3 Series.
It would seem as though the pressure is on for an all-electric Roller. All told, it sounds like such a creation would bring the same style and panache that we’ve come to expect from the brand, just without that thirsty internal-combustion engine under the hood.
Even so, don’t expect this 110-year old manufacturer to change its ways any time soon. Even at current development rates, it’ll take some time for EV technology to reach what Rolls-Royce customers consider “acceptable” levels of convenience and capability.
Read our full review on the Rolls-Royce Phantom Experimental Electric 102EX here.