When you think about it, Rolls-Royce is the most natural brand to embrace a fully-electric drivetrain – silence is intrinsic to its cars as is effortless performance from tickover.
It was advertising whizz David Ogilvy who used the phrase in advertisements for the Rolls-Royce Phantom back in the late-1950s, “At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”, but he later admitted in his book Ogilivy on Advertising that he picked up the phrase whist reading a technical article – presumed to be published in an edition of THE MOTOR.
So it seems poetic that more than 50 years later, yet another Phantom becomes the focus of a Rolls-Royce headline with an electric theme. But this time it’s more than just the clock which is powered by batteries.
“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 drive-trains, seeking clarity on which alternative technologies may be suitable to drive Rolls-Royce motor cars of the future.”[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”left”]At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock, Ogilvy& Mather advert for Rolls-Royce, 1958.[/blockquote]
The 102EX, is a one-off fully electric powered Phantom which 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 the alternative drive-train and to feedback their experiences, thoughts and concerns directly to Rolls-Royce.
At this stage Rolls-Royce have not yet decided whether a production version of the 102EX will follow, they first want to ensure they can achieve an acceptable range between re-charges and that it can operate to Rolls-Royce’s high standards in extreme weather conditions.
“I must be convinced that any alternative drive-train 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.”
The 102EX will debut at the Geneva Motor Show on 1 March 2011, in the meantime you can read regular updates of the car’s progress while on tour and provide your feedback directly to Rolls-Royce, by visiting the website www.electricluxury.com.