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 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 102EX 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 launch its first EV, which will likely go by the name Silent Shadow.
Rolls Royce Phantom Experimental Electric 102EX
In an interview with Bloomberg published last week, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes confirmed plans for a new model called Silent Shadow. And while he didn't say what powertrain the new model would use, he hinted strongly that electrification will be a feature.
“Electrification fits perfect to Rolls-Royce,” he said. “It’s torque-y, it’s super-silent.”
Given the comments, Silent Shadow, a play on Rolls-Royce's Silver Shadow name, would be fitting for the first EV given the silent nature of electric powertrains.
Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 (103EX) concept
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 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 parent company 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. The 2022 BMW iX probably provides some clues. The electric crossover is based on an aluminum space-frame platform, just like Rolls-Royce's lineup, and will offer 300 miles of range with a 100-kwh battery.
Rolls-Royce is expected to release the first details on its EV later this year.