Intended for the market in late 2023, Rolls-Royce‘s first fully electric vehicle, the Spectre, was destined to be built long before EVs were completely understood. The brand’s co-founders (Charles Rolls and Sir Frederick Henry Royce) were fascinated by electricity in general, but when Rolls drove in an electric car in 1900, he decided that electric was the future. “The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean,” he said, in a truly prophetic statement. “There is no smell or vibration, and they should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged.”
Today, the carmaker’s CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös believes that the Spectre—and the fact that all Rolls-Royce vehicles will be electric by 2030—is the manifestation of not only a prophecy, but a promise realized some 120 years after Rolls’ significant, auspicious drive, “Right now, our company is embarking on an historic undertaking to create the first, super-luxury car of its type. This will happen sooner than many thought possible, through the incredible skills, expertise, vision and dedication of our engineers, designers and specialists at the Home of Rolls-Royce,” Müller-Ötvös says.
“In this ground-breaking endeavor, we are drawing on a remarkable heritage, unique in our industry. Our founders and those who worked alongside them in the marque’s formative years were all important pioneers of electric power, as well as their era’s leading experts in automotive engineering,” he continues. “As we herald a new electric future at Rolls-Royce, I am proud and humbled to share their inspiring stories, which have never been told in one place before, and shine a fresh and fascinating light on our company’s earliest days.”
In 2011, the brand unveiled the 102EX concept model, an all-electric version of the Phantom, and then the fully electric 103EX came five years later. Neither were intended for production, but they showed the world what Rolls-Royce was working toward. Underpinned by the brand’s spaceframe architecture, Spectre is undeniably a Rolls-Royce. It’s also poised to undergo the most intense testing in the carmaker’s history: 2.5 million kilometers in countries and climates all over the world. That’s equal to some 400 years of real-life use. “Look out for them,” Müller-Ötvös concludes. “They will be in plain sight.”
Images courtesy of Rolls-Royce