Rolls-Royce develops electric vehicles

Rolls-Royce have confirmed speculation that they have been secretly developing a 100% electric Phantom and say they plan to show the electric car next month. This one-off will be used to gauge the market readiness of the super-luxury car segment to electric vehicles. There are plenty of words associated with electric cars — environmentally friendly, efficient, responsible — but luxury isn’t one of them.

“I must be convinced that any alternative drive-train we choose for the future delivers an authentic Rolls-Royce experience.” Torsten Muller-Otvos – Rolls-Royce chief executive. The electric car, code named 102EX will be unveiled at the Geneva Motorshow and will then embark on a world tour of Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America.

“With this electric 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.” said Mr Muller-Otvos.

The Rolls-Royce 102EX is almost certain to have a range of well over 100 miles and is almost certain to use a sizeable lithium-ion battery array to provide electrical power to twin electric motors powering the rear wheels. Rolls-Royce said the prototype, dubbed the 102EX and based on its top-end "Phantom" model, will be put through various tests throughout 2011. The normal Phantom is powered by a 6.75 litre 12-cylinder engine, at least three to four times the size of the engine on a typical family sedan, and consumes about one litre of fuel for ever six kilometres travelled.

Rolls-Royce said it will display the prototype at the Geneva Motor Show on March 1st, but said there were no immediate plans to develop a production version. Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos is scheduled to hold a press briefing in Singapore later today.