Rolls-Royce has unveiled its first electric vehicle: the Spectre. It’s no prototype – the vehicle is already being road-tested ahead of its Q4 2023 release date, well ahead of the luxury British automotive company’s pledge to go fully electric by 2030.
It heralds the beginning – and the end – of an era in the marque’s 117-year-long history long dominated by the combustion engine. In fact, the announcement bookends what one of its founders, Charles Roll, said in 1900 (four years before the birth of Rolls-Royce).
He 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.”
The Spectre’s all-electric drivetrain is a culmination of the storied brand’s years in technological advancement. It’s a massive stride forward in sustainability, yes, but also a major achievement in a field the marque has long dedicated itself to: tranquility.
That is, complete and utter silence, without any vibrations or noise from rubber on tarmac or cruising at speed along the highway. They’ve even (almost) silenced their massive, twin-turbocharged 6.75 litre V12 used by the Rolls of today. The brand terms this quiet driving experience ‘waftability’. Electric engines are therefore a natural evolution for the marque, seeing as how they meld explosive, responsive power with nary a whisper.
Despite previous experiments with an electric drivetrain – once in 2011 and again in 2016 – this is the first time the brand will be releasing a commercially viable all-electric vehicle. They’ve dedicated themselves to 2.5 million km in real-world testing with the Spectre before selling it to the public. According to the press release, that’s equivalent to more than 400 years of use for a Rolls. Impressive.
That said, Rolls-Royce has yet to reveal any details about the power, range and other specifications of the Spectre, other than the fact that the car will come equipped with the marque’s proprietary aluminium frame chassis that debuted with the eighth-gen Phantom in 2017. Going by their teaser images, the Spectre seems to be a continuation of the brand’s shift towards self-driving. As in, ditching the chauffeur and getting behind the wheel yourself.
Says Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos in a press release, “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.”
He continues: “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.”
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