Rolls-Royce owners are not exactly jumping at the idea of electric versions of their super-luxury rides, despite the popular appeal of the Phantom 102EX concept. The issue? Range.
Introduced at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show, the Phantom 102EX replaces the original's 6.7-liter V-12 engine and 6-speed transmission with a lithium-ion battery pack powering two electric motors driving the rear wheels through a single-speed gearbox. This yields performance that is very close to the gasoline-powered Phantom: Rolls estimates under eight seconds to reach 60 MPH compared to 6.7 for the standard car. The 102EX gives up nothing to the original gas powered car in terms of luxury either. Aside from some changes to the instruments and special "Atlantic Chrome" accents that mirror the exterior's special paint, it's the same posh cabin expected by royalty and rock stars,
However, according to Rolls CEO Torsten Meuller-Oetvoes in Bloomberg News, customers that had been introduced to this all-electric version of the Phantom aren't asking for a rush to production. The company feels that the reason is that most Rolls owners are country dwellers that would find a Nissan Leaf-like 100-mile range unacceptable; a system more like the one found in the Chevy Volt they feel might be a better fit.
The gasoline- powered Phantom was introduced in 2003 and was the first Rolls-Royce created under BMW, who had gained ownership of the marque in a complicated deal that left sister Bentley as a subsidiary of Volkswagen.