Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has announced that on-road testing of its first fully electric motor car is about to get underway, with full details of the program revealed by its CEO.
In announcing this moment for the marque, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chief executive officer, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, said:
“Today is the most significant day in the history of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars since 4th May, 1904. On that date, our founding fathers, Charles Rolls and Sir Henry Royce, first met and agreed that they were going to create ‘the best motor car in the world’.
“Using the most advanced technology available to them at the time and by applying their remarkable engineering minds, these two pioneers elevated early internal combustion engine cars, from noisy, uncomfortable and rudimentary means of transportation, by setting a completely new benchmark of distinction.
“The cars they created, introduced to the world a true luxury experience and secured for Rolls-Royce the ultimate pinnacle position that it continues to occupy, unchallenged, to this day. The marque has continued to define the very best in internal combustion motoring for more than a century.
“Today, 117 years later, I am proud to announce that Rolls-Royce is to begin the on-road testing program for an extraordinary new product that will elevate the global all-electric car revolution and create the first – and finest – super-luxury product of its type. This is not a prototype. It’s the real thing, it will be tested in plain sight and our clients will take first deliveries of the car in the fourth quarter of 2023.”
“The use of electric motors is not a new concept for Rolls-Royce. Sir Henry Royce was fascinated by all things electrified, and his first venture, named F. H. Royce and Company, created dynamos, electric crane motors and patented the bayonet-style light bulb fitting.
“However, it was Charles Rolls who truly prophesied an electrified future for automobiles. In April 1900 he experienced an early electric motor car named the Columbia and declared its electric drive to be ideal.
“Rolls 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.’
“Charles Rolls’ prophecy has been the subject of constant consideration during the marque’s Goodwood era. But we have not been satisfied that available technology could support the Rolls-Royce experience. Until now.
“Now is the time to change the course of the future of luxury. We embark on this bold new future with a huge advantage. Electric drive is uniquely and perfectly suited to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, more so than any other automotive brand. It is silent, refined and creates torque almost instantly, going on to generate tremendous power.
“At Rolls-Royce, we have been experimenting with an electric powertrain for some time. In 2011 we revealed 102EX, a fully operational all-electric Phantom. We followed this in 2016 with our fully electric 103EX, which represented our vision for the marque several decades into the future.”
“These extraordinary products prompted a huge amount of interest in electric powertrain technology amongst our clients. They considered it as the perfect fit for Rolls-Royce. And, over the past decade, I have been repeatedly asked, ‘When will Rolls-Royce go electric?’ and ‘When will you produce your first electric car?’
“I answered with an unambiguous promise: ‘Rolls-Royce will go electric, starting this decade.’
“Charles Rolls’ prophecy and my promise have led us to a seminal moment for the marque. Rolls-Royce has embarked on a historic and unique undertaking, which today becomes a reality. Our designers and engineers have worked relentlessly to bring us here: we are now ready to commence road-testing of the first all-electric Rolls-Royce in history.
“This fundamental change in our powertrain technology requires that we challenge every single aspect of the product before we offer it to the most discerning and demanding individuals in the world – our Rolls-Royce clients.
“To do this, we have conceived the most demanding testing program in Rolls-Royce’s history. We will cover 2.5 million kilometers – a simulation of more than 400 years of use for a Rolls-Royce, on average – and we will travel to all four corners of the world to push this new motor car to the limit.
“You will see these test cars on roads, around the world. Look out for them – they will be in plain sight. They will be tested in all conditions and over all terrains on their multi-million-mile journey – that will literally accelerate Rolls-Royce into the future.”
“In 2017, we debuted Phantom, and with it the marque’s proprietary aluminum architecture: a scalable and flexible spaceframe that would underpin all forthcoming Rolls-Royce motor cars. This unique technology – developed for Rolls-Royce by Rolls-Royce and reserved for the marque’s exclusive use – was created to form the foundation of not just different internal combustion engine models, as it now does with Cullinan and Ghost, but models with completely different powertrains.
“To this end, our forthcoming electric car benefits from the Rolls-Royce architecture and therefore the extraordinary experience of a Rolls-Royce on the road. Free of any group platform sharing strategy, we were able to integrate our plans for an electric powertrain into the architecture’s initial design.”