The all-electric Rolls-Royce Spectre boasts 576bhp and is set to cost in excess of £300,000
The idea of an electric Rolls-Royce is nothing new. Back in 1900 the company’s co-founder, Charles Rolls, bought himself an electric car and said, “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.”
Charging points may be out of Rolls-Royce’s control, but the firm’s new Spectre arrives with the aim to be the pinnacle of electric motoring – just like its internal-combustion engined predecessors. Rolls-Royce says the Spectre has been subject to the most exhaustive testing procedure of any car it’s ever launched – the equivalent of 400 years’ use.
Although the Spectre is a coupé – in effect, a replacement for the Phantom Coupé – it’s a precursor to the whole Rolls-Royce range being electrified by 2030.
We’d expect future models to follow the evolutionary design language that the Spectre introduces, too. A Rolls-Royce wouldn’t be a Rolls-Royce without the distinctive Pantheon grille – wider and sleeker than ever before and illuminated at night. Even the Spirit of Ecstasy has been honed to be as aerodynamic as possible, helping towards an impressive drag coefficient of just 0.25Cd.
The slimmest of LED running lights sit above darkened panels that hide the main headlights, while the long, sloping profile of the Spectre is pure Rolls-Royce with, of course, rear-hinged doors and a new design of 23-inch alloy wheel.
At the back, there's a tapering tail – not quite as extreme as the ultra-rare Sweptail – that features elegant LED lights set as far apart as possible, with the top of the boot lid merging seamlessly into the rear window.
Behind those huge doors, the interior is pure Rolls-Royce, but updated with clever use of the latest lighting technology across the dash, doors and, of course, the roof.
And the very latest tech is on-board, too, with a completely new digital architecture named SPIRIT that controls everything from the electric powertrain to the car’s remote app, which is called Whispers. The Rolls-Royce ‘gallery’ is carried over from the Phantom on the passenger’s side of the dash and a Spirit of Ecstasy image features on the central control dial. As you’d expect there’s an umbrella in the door, matching the interior’s upholstery.
Underneath, the Spectre sits on the latest version of Rolls-Royce’s four-wheel-drive Architecture of Luxury, which caters for electric power as well as internal-combustion engines in the existing product line-up.
The battery is integrated into the all-aluminium chassis and is claimed to play a role in keeping the sound down inside the car – not that a Rolls-Royce is ever noisy. The company’s all-independent Planar suspension system is again fitted to the Spectre – hooked into the SPIRIT control system – promising a magic- carpet ride, while four-wheel steering means a tight turning circle of just 12.7 metres.
Rolls-Royce doesn’t have a reputation for performance, although many of its cars feature huge V8 or even V12 engines. Many of the Spectre’s specs have yet to be confirmed, but the powertrain provides a suitably punchy 576bhp and 900Nm of torque, with the 0-60mph time likely to be just 4.4 seconds.
There’s no word yet on battery size, either, but with an expected range of 320 miles and efficiency of 2.9 miles/kWh, that would mean a battery of around 100kWh. Rolls-Royce’s parent company, BMW, uses a 105.2kWh battery for its iX SUV so it’s likely we could see this in the Spectre.
First deliveries of the new car – built at the home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood – are expected to be a year away, at the end of 2023. As far as cost is concerned, your Rolls-Royce dealer will be able to tell you as you design your new Spectre. All we can say for now is that it sits somewhere between the Cullinan and Phantom – so we’d estimate it to be in the mid-£300,000s.