Rolls-Royce readies for launch of first EV

Rolls-Royce readies for launch of first EV


Rolls-Royce Motor Cars built its legacy on throaty fossil fuel power, but it will be fully electric starting next decade.

The venerable British automaker will launch its first electric vehicle — a two-door coupe — late next year. A battery-powered crossover is likely to follow by mid-decade.

“Electric drive is uniquely and perfectly suited to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, more so than any other automotive brand,” CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes said. “It is silent, refined and creates torque almost instantly, going on to generate tremendous power.”

Like much of the industry, Rolls-Royce’s shift to electrification is less about near-term consumer demand than it is a nod to governments racing to decarbonize. Many cities globally seek to limit or ban sales of new high-emission combustion-powered vehicles by early next decade.

Rolls-Royce will switch to electric power when it replaces core models, Mueller-Oetvoes said.

“We will go from combustion engines straight into electric when we substitute certain positions in our portfolio, and that is the way forward,” he said.

But Rolls-Royce isn’t entirely done with combustion engines. The brand has not launched its last model powered by a V-12, sources within the company said.

Even as Rolls-Royce adds electric models, it has pared back elsewhere. U.S. sales of the Dawn convertible and Wraith coupe ended after the 2021 model year.

Electric crossover: A battery-powered cross- over could arrive in U.S. showrooms by mid-decade. According to media reports, the EV would be built on the Architecture of Luxury platform and share drivetrain technology with parent BMW’s next-generation electric vehicles.

Spectre: The brand’s first EV, built on the same aluminum architecture that underpins Rolls-Royce’s other models, should arrive in the second half of 2023.

The aerodynamic Spectre “will be the first and finest super-luxury product of its type,” Mueller-Oetvoes said .

Spectre is said to have a sloping fastback design similar to the discontinued Wraith and is the size of the Phantom.

The automaker said that the Spectre has new suspension technology that scans the road surface ahead and adjusts ride quality. The system decouples the anti-roll bars on straight roads, allowing each wheel to act independently, keeping the Spectre from rocking when it hits a bump. When a curve is spotted, the components are re-coupled, the suspension dampers stiffen and the four-wheel steering system prepares to activate.

A variant from Rolls-Royce’s engineering and performance subbrand, Black Badge, should arrive in the fall of 2024.

Cullinan: In late 2019, Rolls-Royce bolstered the large crossover with a Black Badge variant. The Cullinan Black Badge received design and performance changes over the standard model, including an increase of 29 hp to the 6.75-liter twin-turbo V-12 engine for 600 hp. The drivetrain and chassis also were retuned.

A freshening is possible in 2025, with the next generation expected to go all-electric before decade end.

Phantom: The eighth-generation Phantom receives a midcycle refresh for the 2023 model year that delivers light-touch visual and aesthetic enhancements.

The signature Pantheon Grille is illuminated, and the headlights sport “laser-cut bezel starlights.” A new polished horizontal line spans the daytime running lights above the grille.

A 6.75-liter twin-turbo V-12 delivers 563 hp and propels the Phantom from 0 to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds.

The next version of the Phantom should be fully electric.

Ghost: The sedan shares the Architecture of Luxury platform with the Cullinan and Phantom. A 6.75-liter V-12 engine delivers 563 hp, and the model features all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering.

A Black Badge version arrived this year. The “murdered-out” Rolls, popular with rappers and influencers, packs a 6.8-liter V-12 that delivers nearly 30 hp of extra oomph.

The Ghost should receive a freshening around 2026.

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