Rolls-Royce switches on its electric car programme with the 102EX

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.

Rolls-Royce Phantom 102EX

“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.

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