It had to happen sooner or later – Rolls-Royce has joined the ranks of car makers with an electric car offering.
The 102EX, a one-off, fully electric powered Phantom , is to debut at the Geneva Motor Show on 1 March 2011. The car will tour during 2011, serving as a test bed to gather a bank of research data which will be crucial in informing future decisions on alternative drivetrains for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
“We have engineered the world’s first battery electric vehicle for the ultra-luxury segment,” said CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös, speaking from the company’s headquarters in Goodwood. “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.”
With 102EX, also known as the Phantom Experimental Electric (EE), it is the company’s intention to carefully test the opinions and reactions to alternative drivetrain options of a range of stakeholders including owners, enthusiasts, members of the public and the media.
The 102EX will serve as a working test bed for a global tour that takes in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America. Through test drives, owners will be given the opportunity to experience an alternative drivetrain technology and to feedback their experiences, thoughts and concerns directly to Rolls-Royce.
While there are no plans to develop a production version, as one of the company’s EX models it will serve to begin a dialogue with existing owners and stakeholders, posing as well as answering questions of its audience.
These include the car’s ability to deliver an acceptable range between recharges and to operate in extreme weather conditions. But also to benchmark reliability and quality against customer expectations of the world’s pinnacle automotive brand.
“I must be convinced that any alternative drivetrain we choose for the future delivers an authentic Rolls-Royce experience,” added Müller-Ötvös. “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.”
In preparation for the Geneva debut, Rolls-Royce will launch the website www.electricluxury.com this week, a portal to fuel a wider global debate seeking views on the question of electric luxury from media, VIPs and stakeholders. The site will also deliver regular updates of the car’s progress while on tour.