2011 Geneva Auto ShowJust the Facts:
- Rolls-Royce is testing an experimental version of its Phantom sedan.
- According to Rolls-Royce, it has, "engineered the world's first battery-electric vehicle for the ultra-luxury segment."
- The company says it wants to "seek clarity on which alternative technologies may be suitable to drive Rolls-Royce motor cars of the future
GOODWOOD, England — Rolls-Royce has revealed a prototype all-electric Phantom limousine that it will unveil at next week's Geneva auto show, before sending the car out on tour as a test bed. The aim is to gather opinion, particularly from Rolls-Royce owners, on what would constitute an acceptable alternative powertrain for the brand.
"We have engineered the world's first battery-electric vehicle for the ultra-luxury segment," says Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös. "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."
It would appear from this statement that the company is not wedded to a pure electric solution, a choice that is in any case unlikely to deliver an acceptable range for a car as big as a Phantom unless it were to carry a prohibitively large and expensive battery pack.
But this prototype, codenamed 102EX and known internally as the Phantom Experimental Electric, will at least provide an idea of what an electrically propelled Phantom feels like to drive, even if a production version were an electric hybrid.
Not that Rolls-Royce is talking of production yet, the idea being "to begin a dialogue with existing owners and stakeholders, posing as well as answering questions of its audience." Determining an acceptable range, enabling the car to operate in extreme weather conditions and establishing the required levels of quality and reliability will be part of that process.
"I must be convinced that any alternative drivetrain we choose for the future delivers an authentic Rolls-Royce experience," says Müller-Ötvös. "It must be a technology that is right for our customers (and) our brand and which sets us on a sound footing for a sustainable future."
In the run-up to the Geneva show, Rolls-Royce will launch a Web site to get the debate rolling, before full details of the 102EX's technical specification are revealed on March 1.
Edmunds.com says: — Rolls-Royce doesn't really have to worry about CAFE regulations as the company's models are counted as part of the BMW Group when it comes to calculating corporate fleet average fuel consumption and emissions. This is more about placating those who criticize the company as tone deaf when it comes to environmental responsibility. — Richard Bremner, Correspondent