Believe it or not, founder Charles Rolls said in April 1900 that the future of luxury cars would be EV powertrains. After riding in a first electric car from American automaker Columbia, Rolls said: “The electric car is perfectly quiet and clean. There is no smell or vibration, and they should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged. “
Now, all these years later, after the Rolls Company has gone through many of its own ups and downs – and a recent revitalization under BMW (BMWYY) leadership – the company has unveiled its first all-electric vehicle, the Specter. This is not a concept car, however, as it will be road tested in December of this year and the first deliveries to customers will take place in 2023.
Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös is committed to making the company electric this decade. “Our company is embarking on a historic venture to create the first luxury car of this type,” said Müller-Ötvös. “This will happen, sooner than many thought possible, thanks to the incredible skills, expertise, vision and dedication of our engineers, designers and specialists at Rolls-Royce. “
“For us, electrification is, on the side of our wonderful 12-cylinder engine, a very important step in the long future of the brand,” Müller-Ötvös told Yahoo Finance. “Customers are also actively asking us, ‘When are you going to go electric? “”
Details are scarce as to the technical specifications of the Specter, although we do know that it will use Rolls-Royce’s new aluminum space frame architecture. Rolls hasn’t said anything concrete about their future electrical plans beyond the Specter, but we do know they aim to go fully electric – and very soon.
“With this new product, we are setting our benchmarks for the full electrification of our entire product portfolio by 2030,” he says. “Until then, Rolls-Royce will no longer be able to produce or sell internal combustion engine products. ”
That’s a pretty aggressive schedule for a company that has been making cars powered by gas-guzzling 12-cylinder engines for some time now. However, Müller-Ötvös says the automaker is finally “happy” with the technology it now has in its hands after a few years of experimentation, saying the next Specter is “truly a magnificent Rolls-Royce”.
Much has happened over the years as electric powertrains have evolved – and evolved rapidly. As smooth as Rolls-Royce automobiles are with those gasoline V-12s you can barely hear working, the transition to electric seems like a no-brainer due to this technological development.
Electric Motors Are Extremely Quiet – There are no gears or transmissions interrupting the smooth delivery of power, and the immense torque available right from a standstill would give a car like a Rolls EV supercar levels instantaneous acceleration.
It sounds a lot like the vision Charles Rolls predicted, although I wonder if he thought it would take 120 years to get there.
Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow it on Twitter and on Instagram.
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