The Rolls-Royce Spectre EV is here to fulfil its founder’s prophecy, 122 years later

You’ll probably never hear “Rolls-Royce” and “eco-friendly” in the same sentence, but yet an electric Rolls-Royce just makes perfect sense – so much so that its co-founder, Charles Rolls, prophesised it some 122 years ago. This is the Spectre, and it’s about to rewrite Rolls-Royce’s history.

The reason for an electric RR, as you’d expect, isn’t exactly for eco-friendliness. Instead, it’s to emphasise and amplify all of the things that make a Rolls-Royce, a Rolls-Royce – “instant torque, silent running, and the sense of one imperceptible gear”.

“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,” Charles Rolls apparently said in 1900, four years before he eventually started the Rolls-Royce company with Henry Royce. And it’s surprising how much he got right – including the part about charging infrastructure.

While final specifications of the electric powertrain are still being refined, preliminary data suggests that the Rolls-Royce Spectre will offer up to 430 kW (576 hp) and 900 Nm of torque, and a range of 520 km on the WLTP test cycle. The powertrain will take the Spectre from 0-100 km/h in just 4.5 seconds, all while being vibration-free and virtually quiet inside.

All of it rides on what Rolls-Royce calls the “Architecture of Luxury”, a purpose-built aluminium platform that is said to be 30% stiffer than any Rolls-Royce before it. The battery sits underneath the floor, which also doubles as a 700 kg-heavy sound deadening device.

For the marque’s signature Magic Carpet Ride, the Spectre also gets a unique “Planar” suspension system that can decouple the anti-roll bars on straight roads, allowing each wheel to act independently.

The anti-roll bars automatically recouples when the Flagbearer system detects an imminent corner via GPS and cameras, with the suspension dampers stiffened to ensure effortless entry and exit, working in conjunction with the four-wheel steering.

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As for the rest of the car, well, it’s typical Rolls-Royce. Apparently inspired by yachts, the Rolls-Royce Spectre takes the form of an “Ultra-Luxury Electric Super Coupe”, with a swoopy silhouette sculpted by 830 hours of wind-tunnel aero testing.

The Spectre boasts a drag coefficient of 0.25 Cd, making it the most aerodynamic car RR has ever made. That was in part achieved with the redesigned Spirit of Ecstasy, now with a more “dynamic stance”.

Despite this being a fully-electric vehicle, the Spectre still gets an illuminated grille up front. In fact, it’s the widest grille RR has ever fitted onto a car, and it’s flanked by a set of BMW 7 Series-esque split headlights. Basically, if no one told you that it was electric, you probably wouldn’t know.

Thanks to its monstrous proportions (it’s longer than the Wraith and wider than even the Phantom), Rolls-Royce says that the Spectre “required” the 23-inch wheels in order to fill up its wheel wells, and it’s the first production two-door coupe to be equipped with wheels that big in almost a hundred years.

Open the rear-hinged doors, and you’ll be greeted by a very familiar Rolls-Royce atmosphere – just with a lot more light. The signature Starlight headliner is now complemented by the Spectre’s new Starlight Doors, which adds another 4,796 “stars” to envelop the passengers in the night sky.

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There’s also a new Illuminated Fascia on the Spectre’s dashboard, which incorporates the Spectre nameplate surrounded by a cluster of over 5,500 stars.

The Spectre will mark the beginning of Rolls-Royce’s electrification plan, where the company aims to have its entire line-up be fully-electric by 2030. Deliveries for the Spectre will begin in the fourth quarter of 2023, although official pricing has yet to be announced just yet.



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