Rolls-Royce cars to go fully electric by 2030

Spectre sedan to be first in range as prestigious brand sounds death knell for internal combustion engine

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Rolls-Royce cars will go fully electric by 2030, the luxury UK brand announced on Wednesday, when it also provided a sneak preview of the Spectre sedan, the first in its all-electric range.

Rolls-Royce chief Torsten Muller-Otvos said the new model will arrive at the end of 2023.

“With this new product, we set out our credentials for the full electrification of our entire product portfolio by 2030,” he said.

“By then, Rolls-Royce will no longer be in the business of producing or selling any internal combustion engine products.”

He described the news as the most important decision in the history of the brand since Charles Rolls and Henry Royce agreed on May 4, 1904 to build cars together.

Rolls-Royce makes U-turn on V12 engine

Rolls-Royce since inception has been in the vanguard of powerful V12 engine technology and quiet, smooth excellence for the world’s wealthiest and most discerning customers.

Many of its most revered models, from the early Rolls-Royce Phantoms to the modern Cullinan, employed the company’s famous 12-cylinder combustion engine technology.

As recently as 2019, Mr Muller-Otvos said he would keep the V12 around “as long as possible”.

While the Spectre will be the first fully formed production electric car from Rolls-Royce, the brand previously experimented with a fully operational all-electric Phantom called the 102EX in 2011. An electric 103EX prototype followed in 2016.

Rolls-Royce currently offers no hybrid vehicles in its fleet, which includes the Phantom sedan, Cullinan SUV, Ghost sedan, Wraith coupe, and Dawn convertible.

Rolls-Royce's electric past

The electric motor was a familiar concept even for Rolls-Royce's founders: Henry Royce’s first venture created dynamos, electric crane motors, and bayonet-style light bulb fitting.

In 1900, Charles Rolls drove an electric car, known as the Columbia, and declared it “ideal”, according to Rolls-Royce records.

But with astonishing prescience Royce noted that the electric car would not become prevalent until a charging network could be established. Many would argue that time has still not arrived.

Further details of the Spectre are scarce, including pricing, although it is rumoured that it will share motors with parent company's BMW’s i7

Meanwhile, cross-country rival Bentley announced that it will launch a fully electric vehicle by 2025. Bentley has been selling hybrid vehicles for years.

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Updated: September 29, 2021, 4:23 PM