Rolls-Royce Motor Cars announced today that on-road testing of its first fully electric motor car – Spectre – is about to begin. It will come to market in Q4 2023, lagging significant competitors such as Mercedes-Benz, Renault Group, Cadillac and BMW Group – it owns Rolls* – among others. Global testing will cover 2.5 million kilometers – a simulation of 400 years of use, according to Rolls. By 2030 all Rolls-Royce products will be fully electric. The first one, Spectre debuts Rolls-Royce’s own spaceframe architecture.
“The use of electric motors is not a new concept for Rolls-Royce. Sir Henry Royce was fascinated by all things electrified, and his first venture, named F. H. Royce and Company, created dynamos, electric crane motors and patented the bayonet-style light bulb fitting,” said Chief Executive Officer, Torsten Müller-Ötvös.
“However, it was Charles Rolls who truly prophesied an electrified future for automobiles. In April 1900 he experienced an early electric motor car named the Columbia and declared its electric drive to be ideal.
“Rolls said, ‘The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean. 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,’ was the (live in the past?) selling/marketing point cited by Müller-Ötvös.
In 2017, Rolls debuted Phantom, and with it an aluminum architecture: a scalable and flexible spaceframe that would underpin all new Rolls-Royce motor cars. This technology – developed for Rolls-Royce by Rolls-Royce it was claimed and reserved for the marque’s exclusive use – was created to form the foundation of not just different internal combustion engine models, as it now does with Cullinan and Ghost, but models with completely different powertrains.
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* Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BMW Group, and is a separate company from Rolls-Royce plc, the manufacturer of aircraft engines and propulsion systems.