The only thing better than wafting down the road in a vault-like Rolls-Royce, swaddled in the lap of luxury, would be doing it all emissions-free. As ever, our wishes are Rolls-Royce’s command. The 107-year old firm has just unveiled its first ever electric vehicle — a palatial coupe called the Spectre — and announced a date for the end of all gasoline Rollers. In 2030, “Rolls-Royce will no longer be in the business of creating or selling any internal-combustion engine motor cars,” says Torsten Müller-Ötvös, chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
He’s keeping the details of the first ever Rolls-Royce EV close to his chest — but we do know the car is not going to be a Wraith coupe stuffed full of batteries. That would be a shortcut and Rolls-Royce doesn’t take those. While the Wraith rides on an older platform shared with BMW, under the Spectre’s hood (well, actually there might be a front trunk there), but the car’s beautiful hand-finished bodywork will be Rolls-Royce’s own aluminum spaceframe architecture. It was designed from the ground up to accommodate both electric propulsion and the older fossil-fuelled type. The Spectre will be in good company then, because the only other cars that use Rolls’ proprietary spaceframe are the Cullinan SUV, Phantom, and the new Ghost sedan.
We don’t know the Spectre’s range or price yet, but you can bet it’ll be long and high respectively. For reference, the company’s “entry-level” Ghost starts at roughly $350,000 in Canada — and the usual electric-car pitfalls don’t apply in this price bracket. Having the garage space to plug-in overnight won’t be an issue for your typical Rolls-Royce customers: heads of state, oligarchs, rich kids, and business magnates. If, for some reason, they need to do a quick 2,000 km trip and don’t want to use the G6, perhaps an electric car is not ideal — but it doesn’t matter because the Spectre won’t be the only car in these ultra-high-net-worth garages.
The monstrous low-end torque and absolute smoothness of electric motors are perfectly suited to Rolls-Royce. Indeed, the only thing better than the brand’s mighty V12 engine — an absolute unit that pulls with a force quieter and more powerful than gravity itself — is a motor that moves you without even the whisper of guilt that comes from enjoying such a mighty gas-guzzler.
Way back in 1900, company co-founder Charles Rolls predicted all this. After trying out an early EV, he reportedly 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.”
Even Charles Rolls probably didn’t imagine it would take 120-odd years for EVs to fulfil their potential, but better late than never. According to Müller-Ötvös, the existing EV technology simply hasn’t been good enough to live up to Rolls-Royce’s exacting standards until now.
Still, if the new all-electric Rolls-Royce Spectre doesn’t do it for you, perhaps you’d prefer the one-of-three Rolls-Royce Boat Tail, reportedly built at a cost of more than US$15 million for Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
All images courtesy of Rolls-Royce