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Car of the Month

More Books:

Rossfeldt: Rolls-Royce and Bentley / From the Dawn of the 20th Century into the new Millennium




Car of the Month - October 2021
Rolls-Royce Spectre, 2021,
pre-series electrically powered Experimental Car


Rolls-Royce Spectre

In a statement from 29th September 2021 supplied to international media Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, announced the first series-production electrically powered motor car of the marque. Dates of first deliveries of the new product – than was to be named Spectre – were to start during 4th quarter 2023. This was considered a significant step towards the target of stopping production of motor cars propelled by internal combustion engines and change-over completely to electrically powered vehicles.

Details as regards technical layout were limited to a note, the fundamental technological feature would be the use of Rolls-Royce’s proprietary aluminium architecture, i.e. that scalable and flexible spaceframe which had been introduced with the 2017 Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII and reached further steps of development with Cullinan and Ghost. This technology did meet any criteria essential to opt on electric motors as power plant for future models. No information whatsoever though was to be found as regards technical data or equipment. Whether or not pictures of an Experimental Car did permit any conclusions as regards the finished product did remain in the realms of speculation. The Experimental Car obviously was based on the form of the fastback coupč Rolls-Royce Wraith. An open question: Was this indeed a model reflecting near series standard? Plans had been laid down for test cars to cover some 2 ˝ million kilometres in a most demanding programme in a wide variety of different conditions around the globe. No longer would this be performed in secret actions hidden from the public. Attempts like that quite frequently had failed in the past anyway. Test cars would operate in plain sight on roads and perhaps on other terrains, too. The first 2021 launched Experimental Car was 'camouflaged' merely by sprayed-on statements.

Rolls-Royce Spectre

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Rolls On Columbia

The manufacturer boasted to have achieved fulfilling a prophecy made more than 100 years ago by Charles Stewart Rolls, one of the company’s founders. It had been Rolls who in 1900 emphasized when asked for the merits of an electric car, i.e. a Columbia produced in the USA: "…perfectly noiseless and clean … …no smell or vibration … … very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged." Citing but a shortened version of Rolls' verdict it was not mentioned he had clearly seen limitations to use merely as town cars but not for country or long-distance runs. Thus he was entirely complying with Frederick Henry Royce, years before both men in 1904 founded Rolls-Royce. It is worth a note that F.H. Royce, who had achieved an outstanding reputation in electrical engineering and owner of a fabric for electric motors etc., had designed the electric motor for a car by Pritchett & Gould. However his conclusion was the same as that of C.S. Rolls – electrically operated cars suffered severely from unsolved problems of batteries' capacity-limits and inacceptably lengthy charging-periods – hence both decided to concentrate on petrol-driven motor cars.

Royce E-Motor

The founding fathers of the marque could be considered – depending on which view might be preferred – as pioneers of all-electric motor cars or as experts who sceptically had put a spot-light on the Achilles’ heel of that technology. More than a century later Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is convinced the company’s future is to be determined by “Rolls-Royce will go electric, starting this decade.“ 

Rolls-Royce Spectre