For some people, their word is law – so, with them, a promise made is a promise kept. One such person is Charles Rolls; better known as the man whose name is half of the legendary marque Rolls-Royce. Back in 1900 Charles had an enthralling vision; an electric version of these new-fangled motor vehicles he was involved with developing. Having just bought a Columbia Electric Carriage, Charles was inspired by this clean, noiseless alternative to the dirty old internal combustion engine and wanted to develop one at his own company. ‘The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean,’ he said at the time, ‘There is no smell or vibration. They should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged.’
In saying that, Charles was highlighting the underlying problem with electric cars at the time: there just wasn’t any infrastructure around to charge electric motor vehicles at home let alone out on the road. And oil barons such as John D. Rockefeller weren’t exactly motivated to help grow the competition. So Charles’ grand vision was doomed, seemingly forever…
But Charles Rolls, and his successors at Rolls-Royce, never forgot his promise and pledged to one day release a fully electric version of their world-famous Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. They would just have to sit on their hands until the world turned enough to see that electric vehicles were exciting, innovative and sustainable enough to warrant the cost of implementing enough expensive new infrastructure to support them.
The Spectre appears
Now, at last, that day has come and the time is ripe for Charles Rolls’ pledge to finally be fulfilled with the launch of the absolutely new fully electric Rolls-Royce Spectre. As you can imagine, there has been massive excitement throughout every corner of the marque as it is not every day that a 120 year-old promise comes to fruition. Yet heads have not been lost in the excitement as the current Rolls-Royce CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, has been quick to point out that the Spectre is; ‘a Rolls-Royce first and an electric car second.’ Instead, Rolls-Royce see Spectre as an amazing opportunity; as a chance to begin a new era for the brand, that of electric super-luxury.
A name that has long been part of Rolls-Royce legacy, Spectre is an apt designation for the world’s first Ultra-Luxury Electric Super Coupé’s near-silent running. Yet, this is the first time the name Spectre has been given to a series production Rolls-Royce, as the four-seater is the spiritual successor to the Phantom Coupé.
Electric engines only enhance the Rolls-Royce reputation
Drawing on Charles Rolls’ own enthusiasm for electric engines, today’s marque designers have capitalised on the engine’s inherent comparative silence to develop a powertrain that only enhances the long-Rolls-Royce reputation for instant torque, silent running and the sense of one imperceptible gear. With Spectre, Rolls-Royce has also harnessed a revolutionary ‘Decentralised Intelligence’ system that allows for the free and direct exchange of information between more than a thousand vehicle functions, further elevating the marque’s celebrated quality of ride.
Spectre’s fastback design is inspired from worlds far beyond automotive, including haute couture, modernist sculpture, nautical design, tailoring and contemporary art, resulting in the lowest drag coefficient ever for a Rolls-Royce. Armed with the most technologically advanced Bespoke features yet, Spectre is also available with Starlight Doors or the option of Canadel wood panelling, an Illuminated Fascia sporting a cluster of over 5,500 stars; an all-new front seat design inspired by British tailoring; and a completely redesigned digital architecture of luxury named SPIRIT. This fully integrates the marque’s Whispers application – the World’s Most Exclusive Member’s Club offered by Rolls-Royce, allowing clients to interact with their car remotely, and receive live information curated by the marque’s luxury intelligence specialists.
A magic carpet ride
Engineering-wise, Spectre’s Planar suspension system has been developed to deliver Rolls-Royce’s next generation of hallmark ‘magic carpet ride’ that reduces high-frequency ride imperfections whilst ensuring steering, braking and power are delivered effortlessly.
The introduction of a fully-electric powertrain and Decentralised Intelligence also represents a chance to shift to the Rolls-Royce 3.0 version of the highly flexible all-aluminium spaceframe ‘Architecture of Luxury’. For Spectre, Rolls-Royce engineers have unlocked further benefits too; the extruded aluminium sections and integration of the battery into the structure of the motor car enable it to be 30% stiffer than any previous Rolls-Royce. It has also allowed the engineers to place the floor halfway between the sill structures rather than on top or underneath them, leading to the opportunity for almost 700kg of further sound deadening via the vehicle’s battery.
The beginning of an exhilarating new normal for Rolls-Royce
Not only does Spectre possess all the qualities that have made Rolls-Royce legendary, its new all-electric engine perfectly suits how Rolls-Royce was conceived to operate – right from the very beginning in Charles Rolls’ imagination. This incredible first fully-electric model for the marque is everything Rolls-Royce have always striven for but without requiring the need for any fight against the inherent attributes of the combustion engine. It is the beginning of a bold new all-electric era for Rolls-Royce and one that should cement Charles Rolls’ place in automotive history as the visionary who was already developing the perfect 21st century car all the way back at the beginning of the 20th century.
The first Spectre models will be available for customers from in the fourth quarter of 2023, for more on Charles’ legacy visit Spectre today.