Rolls-Royce Vision concept, Goodwood
Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.com
Rolls-Royce is rumoured to introduce a new range of luxury electric cars in the early half of this decade, possibly kicking things off with the newly-patented Silent Shadow model (a play on the Silver Shadow). Company CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvö told Autocar that the brand will skip plug-in hybrid powertrains altogether, and use R&D funds to invest in fully electric models.
“We need to make smart decisions on where we invest our money. It may be okay for bigger companies to go into hybrids and all sorts of different technologies. We needed to make a certain decision,” he said. The move will mark the first alternative propulsion tech offered by the automaker since 2003.
The new Rolls-Royce electric car will likely be based on an all-new aluminium spaceframe architecture as opposed to using a reworked version of BMW’s CLAR platform. However, it’s tipped to use much of BMW’s electric drive technologies, including electric motors, axles, and Samsung SDI-supplied battery packs. This allows for maximum production efficiency and economies of scale.
Details remain a company secret for now, but word is the Silent Shadow could either be had as a rear- or all-wheel drive configuration. A standard V12 Rolls-Royce is already heavy, so a full-electric one may push kerb weight past three tonnes, especially if the rumoured 100 kW battery capacity were to be true. Rolls-Royce is aiming for at least 500 km of range on a full charge.
At launch, the Silent Shadow will rival the Mercedes-Benz EQS flagship, with production set to take place at its Goodwood facility in West Sussex. The EV will be built alongside the current Phantom, Ghost, and Cullinan SUV.
Speaking of the Cullinan, Rolls-Royce is also looking to offer a full electric derivative of its SUV. This will likely be ready by 2025, with sources claiming that it will adopt a similar architectural layout as the BMW iX. This comprises a twin-motor setup for over 500 PS, all-wheel drive, and over 100 kWh of battery capacity.
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