Today, more than 120 years later, the time has come for Rolls-Royce to fulfil the prophecy of its founding father.
As The Hon Charles Stewart Rolls, co-founder of Rolls-Royce, stated in 1900: ‘The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean. There is no smell or vibration. They should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged.’
This prophecy could not have been fulfilled without a more recent promise, when Rolls-Royce CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, made a public commitment to electrification by announcing a fully electric Rolls-Royce within the current decade. Charles Rolls’ prophecy and Müller-Ötvös’ promise led, in September 2021, to the marque confirming that it had commenced testing of Spectre, the first Rolls-Royce to be conceived and engineered from the very beginning as an electric car.
Müller-Ötvös expanded on behalf of the company: ‘At Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, perfection is about more than making the very best products. It is a culture, an attitude and our guiding philosophy. Indeed, it is our founding father Sir Henry Royce who said, “Strive for perfection in everything you do”.
‘Spectre has been conceived within this culture. It is perfectly in tune with the sensibilities of our time. It states the direction for the future of our marque and perfectly answers a call from the most discerning individuals in the world to elevate the electric motor car experience, because Spectre is a Rolls-Royce first and an electric car second.
‘This is the start of a bold new chapter for our marque, our extraordinary clients and the luxury industry. For this reason, I believe Spectre is the most perfect product that Rolls-Royce has ever produced.’
To ensure that this transformative motor car was sufficiently prepared for the most demanding consumer in the world – the Rolls-Royce client – the marque devised the most exhaustive testing programme it had ever conceived. Spectre is being subjected to a journey of more than 2.5 million kilometres, simulating more than 400 years of use for a Rolls-Royce. On its completion in 2023, Spectre will represent a prophecy fulfilled, a promise kept and an undertaking completed.
Spectre is not only an historic moment for Rolls-Royce, but also an historic moment for electrification – with Spectre, the marque confirms that the technology has reached a standard that can contain the Rolls-Royce experience. To that end, Rolls-Royce has confirmed that by the end of 2030 its entire product portfolio will be fully electric.
Instant torque, silent running and the sense of one imperceptible gear have defined the characteristics of an extraordinary canon of products dating back to the very first Rolls-Royce, the 1904 10HP.
With Spectre, Rolls-Royce has harnessed a revolutionary ‘Decentralised Intelligence’ system that allows for the free and direct exchange of information between more than 1,000 vehicle functions, further elevating the marque’s celebrated quality of ride. Its designers have captured a contemporary yet timeless aesthetic that significantly progresses the brand’s iconography as it embarks on its electric age. Its craftspeople have created a suite of contemporary prêt-à-porter personalisation possibilities, including starlight doors and illuminated fascia, inspiring clients to realise their own bespoke visions.
For the first time ever, clients are now able to extend their bespoke commission beyond the physical world and into the completely redesigned digital architecture of luxury – named ‘Spirit’. Inspired by the marque’s clients’ love of bespoke timepieces, the colour of the dials can now complement the interior hue of the motor car.
As with all Rolls-Royce motor cars, Spectre’s interior suite offers clients near-infinite bespoke possibilities. The all-new front seat design has been inspired by British tailoring, with lapel sections that can be rendered in contrasting or matching colours to the main base. Bespoke stitching, embroidery and intricate piping has, as ever, been considered in their inception.
The ability to tailor the architecture of luxury for electric drive was a fundamental consideration when it was first conceived. However, it is only now that electric drive technology is advanced enough to fulfil the Rolls-Royce experience. The introduction of a fully electric powertrain and decentralised intelligence into the marque’s portfolio represents Rolls-Royce 3.0 and the beginning of the bold new all-electric era.
For Spectre, Rolls-Royce’s engineers have seen much of their discipline pivot from the workshop to the digital space. Spectre is the most connected Rolls-Royce in history, and in harnessing the power of the motor car’s remarkable decentralised intelligence processing capabilities there is more requirement than ever for expert human experience.
The final power, acceleration and range figures are still being refined, as the extraordinary undertaking of finessing Spectre enters its final phase before concluding in the second quarter of 2023. Preliminary data shows that Spectre is expected to have an all-electric range of 320 miles/520 kilometres and offer 900Nm of torque from its 430kW powertrain. It is anticipated to achieve 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds (0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds).
With many months of testing and optimisation of Spectre still ahead, these figures are subject to change ahead of official confirmation prior to market launch in Q4 2023.
Doors / seats – 2 doors / 4 seats
Length – 5453mm
Width – 2080mm
Height (unladen) – 1559mm
Wheelbase – 3210mm
Turning circle – 12.7m
Kerb weight – 2975kg