There is, you may have heard, some backlash to the idea of global warming and environmentally responsible driving. For every hybrid driver, there is someone who will deride the purchase, and maybe even buy a big gas guzzler out of spite. But if you ever had any doubt that the automotive industry had gone over wholly to the environmentalists, you can put them to rest starting now. Because Rolls-Royce will show off an all-electric Phantom at the Geneva Motor Show next week.
The concept car is called the 102EX, and Rolls-Royce removes any doubt right off the bat saying that it's a one-off all-electric Phantom. Just a showcase, you say? Nope. The car will serve as a test bed to research technology that will help form the future of Rolls-Royce powertrains. Rolls-Royce will tour the car around the world, allowing current Phantom owners to drive it and provide feedback. That will help Rolls decide which direction to go in the future as it expands beyond gasoline-only engines.
You heard it: Rolls is going green.
While it may seem a little silly for Rolls-Royce to build a one-off electric only Phantom to let its customers drive, there's a lot of logic behind the decision. After all, Rolls-Royce offers up a unique driving experience, one that's largely characterized by its in-your-face styling. A Phantom doesn't just say "I'm rich." An S-Class Mercedes-Benz says that. No, a Rolls-Royce Phantom says "I'm rich, and I want all the non-Rolls-Royce-driving plebeians to know just how freakin' insanely rich I really am." It's not that Rolls-Royce drivers don't care about their fellow humans, or their planet. It's just that their preferred ride doesn't exactly communicate those values as loudly as, say, a Prius.
So, is there an electric Rolls-Royce in the future? Maybe. It depends on what the reaction to this prototype is. You can track the progress of the 102EX's tour around the world on www.electricluxury.com, and join in on the debate as to whether an electric Rolls-Royce is even a good idea. And of course, feel free to share your opinion below.