117 years after the first Rolls-Royce was developed, the iconic brand has taken arguably the most radical step towards its future, turning to electric powertrains. In September 2021, the Rolls-Royce Spectre was officially announced, and its road testing got underway. The super luxury EV will herald a new era for the brand.
It’s not the first time that Rolls-Royce has thought of making EVs. In April 1900, Charles Rolls experimented with a car named Columbia powered by an electric motor. Even back then, it was ‘noiseless’ and ‘clean.’ Over 100 years later, the technology has certainly evolved to a great extent, and Rolls-Royce, like all other brands, is ready to make the leap.
Here’s everything we know about the Rolls-Royce Spectre in April 2022:
The Rolls-Royce Spectre’s silhouette is identical to the Wraith. However, Rolls-Royce has stated that the Spectre would be the spiritual successor of the Phantom Coupe, which was sold in limited numbers between 2009 and 2016 before being discontinued. The ‘Electric Super Coupe’ is only the second Rolls-Royce after the Phantom Coupe to use the British brand’s all-aluminum spaceframe architecture (Rolls-Royce 3.0).
However, the camouflage isn’t perfect, as the test mules reveal many details. The EV seems to retain the traditional chrome embellished grille, which may be closed off on the production version, and there’s a wide air intake lower down on the front bumper to channel air towards the battery. There are rectangular LED headlamps, along with a signature elongated bonnet.
We wonder how Rolls-Royce will use the space under the hood. EVs have fewer mechanical components than ICE-powered cars, and the lack of an engine allows a cab-forward stance with reduced bonnet size and improved aerodynamics. It would be interesting to see the innovations Rolls-Royce may have made under the hood. The Rolls-Royce Spectre also seems to have rear-hinged doors and a massive wheelbase.
The Spectre will be the first Rolls-Royce since 1926 to run on 23-inch wheels, which seem to be aero-optimized on the test mules. However, the prototypes seem to be testing 18-inch wheels, which may be provided as standard. The rear is not as dramatic, the roof flows in a typical coupe-like fashion, and with no exhaust pipes to fit, there seems to be some aero-work done to the rear bumper with diffusers.
Aerodynamic Spirit of Ecstasy
The British marque has redesigned the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy that sits atop the bonnet of Rolls-Royce cars. The figurine is lower, more dynamic, and closer in design to the original sketches made by creator Charles Sykes more than 100 years ago. The symbol is now 82.73 mm tall, down from the older figurine’s 100.01 mm height. And designers have tweaked her robe as well.
The Spirit of Ecstasy’s wings are more upswept to improve aerodynamics, and now she stands with one leg forward with her body tucked low and eyes pointed towards the road ahead. Earlier she had a less athletic stance with her feet together, knees straight and bent at the waist. The brand says the Rolls-Royce Spectre test mules have a drag coefficient of 0.26, which is the best figure for a Rolls-Royce car.
Interior & Features
There’s no word yet on what the Rolls-Royce Spectre interior will look like. However, we know that Rolls-Royce has used extensive sound deadening measures for pin-drop-silence inside the cabin, including using the battery for sound-deadening as its secondary function. The brand also claims a ‘low seating position’ and an ‘enveloping cabin experience.’ Expect the electric coupe to have some serious processing power as well. The brand says it’s the most connected and intelligent Rolls-Royce to date.
The onboard system is capable of 141,200 sender-receiver relations, has more than 1,000 functions, and over 25,000 ‘sub-functions.’
The Rolls-Royce Spectre EV would use an all-aluminum spaceframe architecture christened Rolls-Royce 3.0, which integrates an electric powertrain and high processing power. This may be an evolved version of Rolls-Royce 2.0, also an aluminum spaceframe architecture used on current models like the Phantom, Cullinan, and the Ghost. The brand says the platform has simplified processes, and the Spectre would ‘pivot’ into digital space.
There’s no official word on the powertrains yet. However, it’s easy to guess that Rolls-Royce may use BMW Group’s most powerful electric motors and the largest available battery pack—which will also power the upcoming BMW i7, BMW’s flagship electric sedan. The Rolls-Royce Spectre may use its 111.5 kWh (gross) battery with an estimated range of around 600 km. It may also get a dual-motor AWD set-up with about 600 hp.
Rolls-Royce says its engineers have enabled a free and direct exchange of information between the 1000 functions (mentioned above) with no centralized computing. The brand says the EV’s unique architecture has allowed 7 km of cabling compared to 2 km used on present Rolls-Royce cars. Developers have written over 25 times more algorithms to integrate the systems and offer new features—hinting at how futuristic the EV might be.
This year, Rolls-Royce concluded winter testing in Arjeplog, Sweden. The test mules endured temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Fahrenheit). The pictures show the huge EV drifting around on snow like a lightweight hatchback—the brand may have used parent company BMW’s prowess in engineering as the winter testing of the i7 also concluded recently. As of March 30, 2022, the Rolls-Royce Spectre has completed 25% of its 2.5 million kilometers of testing.
Rolls-Royce Spectre Release Date
The Rolls-Royce Spectre will break cover in 2023, and the customer deliveries is expected during the last quarter of 2023. However, uncertain global supply chain cues may alter the timeline. Expect the Spectre to be priced at around USD 350,000 in the U.S. market. The brand’s range of super-luxury offerings is expected to be electrified by 2030.
Featured Image: Rolls-Royce