Rolls-Royce plans first BEV for 2023

30 September 2021

Rolls-Royce will launch its first battery-electric vehicle (BEV), the Spectre, in the last quarter of 2023. The luxury carmaker is committing to electromobility, with no new internal-combustion engine (ICE) offerings by 2030.

‘With this new product, we set out our credentials for the full electrification of our entire product portfolio by 2030. By then, Rolls-Royce will no longer be in the business of producing or selling any internal-combustion engine products,’ said Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös.

Summoning Spectre

In 1900, company founder Charles Rolls took a trip in an early electric car. Impressed, he said it was perfectly noiseless and clean, with no smell or vibration. He even prophesied the need for fixed charging stations. Over a century later and his brand has announced its first full foray into electromobility.

Images of the Spectre in development show it wrapped in the words of co-founder Henry Royce, ‘When it does not exist, design it.’ The development team appears to have taken this message to heart, as the new luxury BEV will sit on its own platform, independent from BMW Group’s modular architecture.

In 2017, Rolls-Royce unleashed the Phantom, underpinned by a scalable and flexible aluminium platform. As mapped out by the marque, this foundation laid the groundwork not only for new models like the Cullinan and Ghost but for entirely different powertrains.

‘Free of any group platform-sharing strategy, we were able to integrate our plans for an electric powertrain into the architecture’s initial design and ensure that this extraordinary new product meets the extremely high expectations of our clients,’ Müller-Ötvös stated.

The Spectre will be put through a demanding testing programme, covering 2.5 million kilometres across the world. This does not mean rolling roads in different laboratories but tests conducted on public roads, over many different terrains and conditions – all in plain sight.

 A level above luxury

Europe’s burgeoning BEV market is swelling with premium SUVs. These models tap into a consumer trend, as well as helping OEMs balance their books. Carmakers are investing heavily into electromobility: designing platforms, retooling factories, and sourcing materials. Once this upgrade is paid for through premium models, work can begin on more affordable units.

But as a  luxury carmaker, Rolls-Royce exists outside of this world. As stated by Müller-Ötvös, the Spectre belongs to a ‘super-luxury’ class. Its customer base is equipped with such enormous purchasing power that development costs are more readily absorbed at the premium price point.

The same is true for Bentley, another marque destined for those with bigger bank balances. It will be the first Volkswagen Group brand to commit its entire fleet to electrification, aiming for solely electrically-chargeable vehicle (EV) sales by 2026.

Mercedes-Benz has also announced its EV strategy is picking up speed, particularly within the premium segment. The company will have to compete with established competitors but also new market entrants from overseas, like Lucid Motors. The California-based startup is expected to launch its luxury Air model in Germany next year.