Nevertheless, it will depart by 2030 when the firm goes all-electric, bringing to an end 126 years of combustion-engined car production, a lineage that began with the two-cylinder 10 HP – engineered by Henry Royce and retailed by Charles Rolls – in 1904.
The Spectre will be handbuilt at Goodwood on the same production line as Rolls-Royce’s current models. The company proudly proclaims that it won’t be based on an existing BMW Group model.
Questions therefore remain about the Spectre’s drivetrain. Rolls-Royce hasn’t revealed plans to usher in its own EV motor technology, but it also hasn’t confirmed that it will use propulsion units supplied by its parent company.
A likely candidate for installation would be the new twin-motor set-up destined for deployment in BMW’s new top-rung iX M60, which promises to deliver upwards of 600bhp across both axles, likely shunting the 2.5-tonne SUV from rest to 62mph in around 4.0sec. Such potency would be a good fit for Rolls-Royce’s first EV, as it would be well placed to emulate the attributes of its smooth, high-performing V12.
Less likely is that Rolls-Royce will rush to profit from BMW’s development of longerrange solid-state batteries, which the German firm intends to showcase in a demonstrator vehicle in 2025, on the way to productionising the technology by the end of the decade.
Rolls-Royce is aware its clients live predominantly in urban areas and don’t cover long journeys on a frequent basis so it is focusing its efforts on offering what Müller-Ötvös calls “digestible” range and charging figures.
Hydrogen fuel cell powertrains are, however, of interest to the company boss, who highlighted the recent unveiling of the X5 Hydrogen as a signal of the BMW Group’s intent in this area. “Currently, we think that batteries are right for us,” he told Autocar, but he added it would be “wise” to have an alternative solution to hand.
Industry bosses commonly regard hydrogen as the more suitable alternative fuel for larger, heavier vehicles – and Rolls-Royces are among the heaviest cars on sale so could benefit from an FCEV roll-out.