Rolls-Royce has confirmed that on-road testing of its first fully electric car is imminent – a moment which its Chief Executive Officer Torsten Müller-Ötvös has described as the “most significant day in the history” of the company since its inception.
The new car named ‘Spectre’ will be available to buy in the fourth quarter of 2023. The company has also confirmed that all all Rolls-Royce products will be fully electric by 2030.
Müller-Ötvös, said: “Today is the most significant day in the history of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars since 4th May, 1904. On that date, our founding fathers, Charles Rolls and Sir Henry Royce, first met and agreed that they were going to create ‘the best motor car in the world’.
“Using the most advanced technology available to them at the time and by applying their remarkable engineering minds, these two pioneers elevated early internal combustion engine cars, from noisy, uncomfortable and rudimentary means of transportation, by setting a completely new benchmark of distinction.
“The cars they created, introduced to the world a true luxury experience and secured for Rolls-Royce the ultimate pinnacle position that it continues to occupy, unchallenged, to this day. The marque has continued to define the very best in internal combustion motoring for more than a century.
“Today, 117 years later, I am proud to announce that Rolls-Royce is to begin the on-road testing programme for an extraordinary new product that will elevate the global all-electric car revolution and create the first – and finest – super-luxury product of its type. This is not a prototype. It’s the real thing, it will be tested in plain sight and our clients will take first deliveries of the car in the fourth quarter of 2023.”
The electric Rolls-Royce fulfils the 1900 prophecy of the marque’s founder, Charles Rolls.
Müller-Ötvös added: “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.
“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.’
“Charles Rolls’ prophecy has been the subject of constant consideration during the marque’s Goodwood era. But we have not been satisfied that available technology could support the Rolls-Royce experience. Until now.
“Now is the time to change the course of the future of luxury. We embark on this bold new future with a huge advantage. Electric drive is uniquely and perfectly suited to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, more so than any other automotive brand. It is silent, refined and creates torque almost instantly, going on to generate tremendous power. This is what we at Rolls-Royce call ‘waftability’.”
The company have been experimenting with an electric powertrain for some time. In 2011 it revealed 102EX, a fully operational all-electric Phantom. The company followed this in 2016 with its fully electric 103EX.
According to Müller-Ötvös, these products prompted a huge amount of interest in electric powertrain technology amongst their clients.
He continued: “They considered it as the perfect fit for Rolls-Royce. And, over the past decade, I have been repeatedly asked, ‘When will Rolls-Royce go electric?’ and ‘When will you produce your first electric car?’ I answered with an unambiguous promise: ‘Rolls-Royce will go electric, starting this decade.’ Today, I’m keeping my word.”
The road-testing will consist of the “most demanding” programme in Rolls-Royce’s history.
Continues Müller-Ötvös: “We will cover 2.5 million kilometres – a simulation of more than 400 years of use for a Rolls-Royce, on average – and we will travel to all four corners of the world to push this new motor car to the limit.
“You will see these test cars on roads, around the world. Look out for them – they will be in plain sight. They will be tested in all conditions and over all terrains on their multi-million-mile journey – that will literally accelerate Rolls-Royce into the future.”
The company’s Spectre vehicle will be underpinned by Rolls-Royce’s own spaceframe architecture.
“In 2017, we debuted Phantom, and with it the marque’s proprietary aluminium architecture: a scalable and flexible spaceframe that would underpin all forthcoming Rolls-Royce motor cars,” explains Müller-Ötvös. This unique technology – developed for Rolls-Royce by Rolls-Royce 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.”
Concluding, Müller-Ötvös said: “With this new product we set out our credentials for the full electrification of our entire product portfolio by 2030. By then, Rolls-Royce will no longer be in the business of producing or selling any internal combustion engine products.
“Spectre is the living fulfilment of Charles Rolls’ Prophecy. My Promise, made on behalf of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, is kept. Now we begin a remarkable undertaking. I am proud that we will continue to propel the world’s most progressive and influential women and men into a brilliant, electrified future.”
Images courtesy of Rolls-Royce.