Imagine it: cruising down the road in your Rolls-Royce, ensconced in enough hand-crafted finery to keep a small village busy for a month, with nothing but the susurration of the wind passing by. That will be a reality later this decade as Rolls-Royce readies its first electric vehicle.
Rolls-Royce tested the market for interest in an EV as early as 2011 when it developed a one-off electric version of the previous-generation Phantom. Dubbed the 102EX, the vehicle was sent out on a world tour but failed to gauge much interest from potential customers due to its range shortcomings. Rolls-Royce estimated the 102EV could cover only about 125 miles on a charge.
But with battery advancements, and the need to meet new regulations, including in Rolls-Royce's home market of the United Kingdom, which will ban the sale of vehicles powered solely by internal-combustion engines from 2030, Rolls-Royce is now ready to take the EV plunge. CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes confirmed one is coming last fall, and now Autocar has a few new details.
The British publication reported Monday that Rolls-Royce's first EV will use the company's own aluminum space-frame platform that debuted in the latest Phantom, and that it will be a new model line. Rolls-Royce is expected to electrify some of its existing models eventually, however.
Rolls Royce Phantom Experimental Electric 102EX
Autocar also reported that Rolls-Royce's BMW Group parent has filed trademark protection in Germany for “Silent Shadow,” a play on Rolls-Royce's historic Silver Shadow name. It would be a fitting name given the silent running of EVs.
As for the body style, previous rumors point to the vehicle being a replacement for both the Wraith and Dawn, so possibly a coupe, convertible or perhaps even a coupe-like sedan. Rolls-Royce's 103EX Vision Next 100 concept (shown main) rolled out in 2016 was an electric coupe, so perhaps some elements from the show car will make it onto the upcoming EV.
The powertrain will most likely be BMW Group's fifth-generation EV technology which supports battery sizes up to 120 kilowatt-hours, or enough for a range approaching 400 miles on a charge. BMW's iX due on sale in early 2022 probably provides some clues. The electric SUV is based on an aluminum space-frame platform, just like Rolls-Royce's lineup, and will offer up to 300 miles of range and a 500-horsepower output.
Rolls-Royce is expected to release the first details on its EV later this year.