In 1900, Rolls-Royce co-founder, Charles Rolls, prophesised an electric future for the motor car. Having acquired an electric vehicle named The Columbia Electric Carriage, he foresaw its suitability as a clean, noiseless alternative to the internal combustion engine – providing there was sufficient infrastructure to support it. Today, more than 120 years later, the time has come for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars to fulfil the prophecy of its founding father. To ensure that this transformative motor car was sufficiently prepared for the most demanding consumer in the world – the Rolls-Royce client – the marque devised the most exhaustive testing programme it had ever conceived. Spectre is being subjected to a journey of more than 2.5 million kilometres, simulating more than 400 years of use for a Rolls-Royce. On its completion in 2023, Spectre will represent a prophecy fulfilled, a promise kept and an undertaking completed. This prophecy could not have been fulfilled without a more recent promise, when Rolls-Royce CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, made a public commitment to electrification by announcing that he would bring a fully-electric Rolls-Royce to market within the current decade. Charles Rolls’ prophecy and Torsten Müller-Ötvös’ promise led to an historic moment. In September 2021, the marque confirmed that it had commenced testing of Spectre, the first Rolls-Royce to be conceived and engineered from the very beginning as an electric car.
Spectre is not only an historic moment for Rolls-Royce, but also an historic moment for electrification – with Spectre, the marque confirms that the technology has reached a standard that can contain the Rolls-Royce experience. To that end, Rolls-Royce has confirmed that by the end of 2030 its entire product portfolio will be fully-electric. With Spectre, Rolls-Royce has harnessed a revolutionary ‘Decentralised Intelligence’ system that allows for the free and direct exchange of information between more than 1,000 vehicle functions, further elevating the marque’s celebrated quality of ride. Its designers have captured a contemporary yet timeless aesthetic that significantly progresses the brand’s iconography as it embarks on its electric age. Its craftspeople have created a suite of contemporary prêt-à-porter personalisation possibilities, including Starlight Doors and Illuminated Fascia, inspiring clients to realise their own Bespoke visions. Rolls-Royce Spectre is more than a motor car. It is a statement of intent and a symbol of a bright, bold future as Rolls-Royce progresses into an all-electric era. This commitment to an all-electric powertrain will only enhance the Rolls-Royce experience – instant torque, silent running and the sense of one imperceptible gear have defined the characteristics of an extraordinary canon of products dating back to the very first Rolls-Royce, the 1904 10 H.P.
In unveiling Spectre, Rolls-Royce sets a new precedent in the creation of an entirely original class of motor car: the Ultra-Luxury Electric Super Coupé. This designation refers to Spectre’s indulgent proportions, specified in response to a commitment that there is no greater luxury than that of space. From the front, Rolls-Royce Spectre’s split headlight treatment is intersected by the widest grille ever bestowed on a Rolls-Royce. The vanes of the Pantheon grille are now smoother in section and a flusher fit, designed to help guide the air around the motor car’s front. The marque’s designers are deeply rooted in the context occupied by their motor cars. Therefore, their inspiration is drawn from worlds far beyond automotive, including haute couture, modernist sculpture, nautical design, tailoring and contemporary art. In conceiving the principal sketches for Spectre, the marque’s creatives were drawn to modern yacht concepts, specifically the clarity and precision of line, intelligent use of reflection and application of taper to emotionalise silhouettes. The relaxed angle and polished stainless steel finish of the grille does much to enhance Spectre’s presence using environmental reflection. Along with an aero-tuned Spirit of Ecstasy figurine – itself the product of 830 combined hours of design modelling and wind tunnel testing – the grille enhances the motor car’s unprecedented drag coefficient, which at just 0.25cd makes Spectre Rolls-Royce’s most aerodynamic motor car, ever.
2003 saw the first Goodwood-era Phantom, built upon its own Bespoke architecture. This renaissance of the brand was Rolls-Royce 1.0. Following this, the ‘Architecture of Luxury’ was conceived – a new, highly flexible all-aluminium spaceframe architecture, and visionary feat of engineering, that could be tailored for electric drive, as well as today’s Phantom, Cullinan and Ghost models, and Coachbuild projects. This expansion of the marque’s offering was Rolls-Royce 2.0. The ability to tailor the Architecture of Luxury for electric drive was a fundamental consideration when it was first conceived. However, it is only now that electric drive technology is advanced enough to fulfil the Rolls-Royce experience. The introduction of a fully-electric powertrain and Decentralised Intelligence into the marque’s portfolio represents Rolls-Royce 3.0 and the beginning of the bold new all-electric era. For Spectre, Rolls-Royce engineers have unlocked further benefits. The sophisticated extruded aluminium sections and integration of the battery into the structure of the motor car enable it to be 30% stiffer than any previous Rolls-Royce. The flexibility of the architecture has also allowed engineers to place the floor halfway between the sill structures rather than on top or underneath them. This not only creates a low seating position and enveloping cabin but realises a secondary function for the battery – almost 700kg of sound deadening. By ensuring from the outset that the Architecture of Luxury could be tailored to the requirements of an all-electric Rolls-Royce, the marque’s engineers ensured the continuity of experience from its current portfolio, each evolution of which has done much to secure the brand’s ongoing global success.
Source: Reviews, Rolls-Royce
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