Rolls-Royce will roll silently into the Geneva auto show with an electric concept car based on the Phantom, but don’t expect to see them prowling the streets of Beverly Hills or Monaco anytime soon. This e-Rolls is strictly a one-off to test the technology.
The illustrious British automaker says the 102EX, or Phantom Experimental Electric, will be used to “gather a bank of research data which will be crucial in informing future decisions on alternative drivetrains.”
“We have engineered the world’s first battery electric vehicle for the ultra-luxury segment,” company CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said in a statement. “With this vehicle, we begin an exploration into alternative drivetrains, seeking clarity on which alternative technologies may be suitable to drive Rolls-Royce motor cars of the future.”
The company has been teasing us with rumors for awhile, and we were supposed to see an e-Phantom late last year. Company brass say the car “will tour during 2011″ so the country club set can see what they think.
“I must be convinced that any alternative drive-train we choose for the future delivers an authentic Rolls-Royce experience,” Müller-Ötvös said. “It must be a technology that is right for our customers, our brand and which sets us on a sound footing for a sustainable future.”
Still, the odds probably are good an electric Rolls will see production eventually. The company is owned by BMW, which just launched the “i” sub-brand specifically for EVs. The company is making a big push into the arena, with electrics coming from Mini as well. An electric Rolls will allow BMW to achieve further economies of scale to bring down the costs of batteries and other components.
An electric Rolls Royce makes more sense than you might think. Most owners simply tool around town, so range isn’t a big issue. It could save owners some serious coin on emissions and road taxes in cities like London. And electric motors provide boatloads of torque and they’re quiet — two hallmarks of a Rolls-Royce.
Rolls Royce is keeping mum on the specs until the car makes its debut March 1.
Via Wired Autopia: http://www.wired.com/autopia/