Rolls-Royce’s EV Plans Are Starting To Materialize, And There’s a Shadowy Secret
It will be a brand new-model and could be called ‘Silent Shadow’, a play on the Silver Shadow monikerby Sidd Dhimaan, on LISTEN 05:52
Just because Rolls-Royce has been tight-lipped about its electrification plans doesn’t mean they don’t have any. At least, that’s what this scoop suggests. According to Autocar, the British automaker is developing a new EV from the ground up rather than plonking an electric powertrain in any of its existing models. A patent for ‘Silent Shadow’ filed late last year further fuels these reports. Will this new model mark the beginning of a new EV era for Rolls-Royce?
Rolls-Royce Is Skipping The Plug-In Hybrid Phase Completely
The general trend in the auto industry is to develop a few plug-in hybrid models before making the switch to pure electric cars. However, Rolls-Royce has decided to skip this completely. Back in 2017 during the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the company’s CEO, Müller-Otvös, confirmed this by saying, “Electrification is the way forward – and there will be no in-between steps for us like hybridization. It is the propulsion system for the future, make no error. There is a time - nobody can predict when - when there will be no combustion engines. That will take a long, long time, but it will happen.”
Further stressing on this, he said, “We need to make smart decisions on where we invest our money. It may be okay for bigger companies to go into hybrids and all sorts of different technologies. We needed to make a certain decision."
Fast forward to late 2020, the automaker’s parent company, BMW, filed a trademark with the German patent office for the name “Silent Shadow”. This is reminiscent of the “Silver Shadow” model that was in the automaker’s lineup from 1965 to 1980 and ended up being the best-selling model in the company’s history. Given the nature of EVs, ‘Silent Shadow’ makes sense and it could be the name of the electric car that’s being developed.
The Automaker Already Has An EV
The publication also noted that Rolls-Royce already has an electric prototype in the form of a Phantom EV, but it will be used for testing purposes only. The automaker will launch a whole new model instead to mark its entry into the segment. This strategy also falls in line with the comments made by the CEO in 2017. He’d said, “The Rolls-Royce brand is not, in a way, a game-changer when it comes to revolutionary technology. Our customers are doing so for reasons of utmost luxury, so there can be no imperfections. Compromises when it comes to technology, or operating our products, are unacceptable. People are more interested in highly reliably substance than to be a test field for new technology.”
Although said in a different context (when asked about investing in hybrid technology), these statements stand true in case of developing a new model that gives the customers an impression that Rolls-Royce is actually serious about the electric future and is not just plonking an electric powertrain in its existing model.
What Do We Know About The Upcoming Rolls-Royce EV?
Nothing so far, actually. There are a lot of speculations surrounding this, but nothing concrete or official.
The Silent Shadow (if it’s called that) could be inspired by based on the 103EX Concept that was unveiled in 2016.
The battery and powertrain tech could be borrowed from the BMW iX, which means we could be looking at around 300 miles of range, multiple motors powering it, and so on.
An 80-kWh battery pack would suffice for 300 miles of range, but given how heavy Rolls-Royce vehicles are, we could be looking at a bigger battery pack, perhaps 100 kWh at least, even in the base form. Batteries could be sourced from the Chinese company, CATL, or Samsung SDI; the battery-division of the South Korean tech giant with which the German automaker has signed a battery supply deal worth $3.2 billion from 2021 to 2031.
It is rumored to be produced along with the upcoming BMW i7, an electric sedan based on the 7 Series. There could be a lot of parts-sharing between the two to bring down the production costs. However, they will be based on different platforms. The i7 will be built on BMW’s CLAR architecture, whereas the Rolls-Royce EV could be underpinned by a new dedicated aluminum spaceframe structure.
Two Electric Rolls-Royce Models Are Already Present
In 2020, a U.K.-based tuning and conversion company called Lunaz worked on a couple of yesteryear Rolls-Royce models and electrified them - the 1961 Phantom V and the Silver Cloud iterations. These resto-conversion projects come with a lot of shenanigans, but the highlight is the electric powertrain. The tuner had said that the car will come with a 120-kWh battery pack that is good to go for about 300 miles. These models were priced at £500,000 and £350,000, which roughly translate to $682,650 and $477,850 as per the current exchange rates.
There is no word on when it will be unveiled, but Rolls-Royce could officially announce its existence by the end of this year. That means we are at least half-a-decade away from its launch. Given how the paradigm shift to SUVs last decade resulted in high-end automakers jumping the wagon and coming up with an SUV, there’s a high probability that an electric Cullinan could also be in the works.