On Wednesday, Rolls-Royce, the British manufacturer of vast and costly cars and SUVs with 12-cylinder engines, announced stopping selling gasoline-powered vehicles by 2030. From now on, the Rolls-Royce will be fully electric.
The automaker also introduced the Spectre brand, the brand of the first electric Rolls-Royce, which will go on sale in about two years. It might have seemed shocking that a Rolls-Royce would power an engine with something less than a powerful gasoline-powered piston engine in an earlier era. However, the “luxury architecture,” the engineering framework for all Rolls-Royce models introduced in 2017, was designed to work with electricity.
BMW, the parent company of Rolls-Royce, adheres to using the identical automotive architecture for electric and gasoline models. However, Munich-based BMW has said it wants to retain the flexibility to produce all-electric, hybrid, and pure petrol models to respond quickly to changes in market demand. In many ways, electricity seems ideal for a Rolls-Royce car.
The reason Rolls-Royce with V12 engines is that they provide enough power, but they can run smoothly and quietly. Rolls-Royce also uses sophisticated options that rely on GPS mapping data to, again, ensure smooth operation. Smooth, quiet, and powerful are terms that can describe many electric vehicles. One of the main drawbacks of the electric drive – the weight and size of large battery packs – is not a problem for Rolls-Royce.
Even small brand models like Ghost already look vast and heavy compared to most cars. However, Rolls-Royce executives have stated that the brand’s wealthy customers do not want to deal with the problems of charging electric vehicles with their relatively short power reserve. Rolls-Royce released a prototype of the all-electric Phantom ten years ago, but it turned out that customers weren’t interested in it at the time.
However, this car drove only 125 miles on a full charge – not very far by today’s standards – and there were not many chargers for electric cars back then. Many electric vehicles today can travel much further, and public chargers are now more common. Unlike some other automakers, BMW has not set a deadline for switching to selling only electric vehicles for its brand.
Bentley, a subsidiary of Rolls-Royce owned by Volkswagen Group since 1998, said it would only sell electric vehicles after 2030. But, according to the automaker, Spectre will begin testing on public roads shortly. Images of the car, covered in gold letters to hide design details, show that it will be a two-door model similar in shape to the recently discontinued Rolls-Royce Wraith.
However, Rolls-Royce representative Jerry Span said that the Spectre would be utterly different from this car. “Starting with the new architecture, it will be a brand new Rolls-Royce, not a replacement for Wraith or any other Rolls-Royce,” he told CNN Business. Spectre will share its fundamental developments with the recently introduced Rolls-Royce models – the top-end Phantom, the sports Ghost, and the Cullinan SUV. All of them are on the so-called “luxury architecture.”
Rolls-Royce has a long tradition of naming cars after phenomena from the spirit world, such as “Phantom” and “Ghost.” However, this is not an absolute rule. Cullinan, for example, is named after a diamond. Rolls-Royce did not provide any details about the expected mileage or characteristics of the Spectre. Rolls-Royce cars are usually expensive: from 300 thousand. dollars for Ghost, the brand’s least expensive model.