Currently reading: Geneva motor show 2011: Rolls-Royce 102EX
Geneva concept, code-named 102EX, is on its world tour to see if a production version is favoured

Rolls-Royce has fulfilled a two-year-old promise in Geneva by unveiling a battery-powered Phantom experimental model, code-named 102EX, which it says will be “crucial in in forming future decisions on alternative powertrains”. According to Rolls CEO, Torsten Muller-Otvos, the Goodwood-built car is the world’s first battery electric vehicle for the ultra-luxury segment. After Geneva, it will go on a world tour of major markets during the rest of 2011, “seeking clarity on which alternative technologies may be suitable to drive Rolls-Royce motor cars of the future”.

See the teaser pics of the Rolls 102EX

Rolls owners, enthusiasts and members of the public in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America will be invited to test drive 102EX, and their opinions will be carefully canvassed and recorded. Muller-Otvos says that while there are no direct plans to put an electric Phantom into production, the car will help find answers to important questions, such as what constitutes an acceptable cruising range between battery charges, and whether a battery Rolls could operate in extremes of weather. It will also test the reliability and quality expectations of the world’s most demanding car buyers.

Read more on Rolls' plans for EVs

“We have to be convinced any future alternative drivetrain delivers an authentic Rolls-Royce experience,” says Muller-Otvos. “We must choose technology that is right for our customers and brand, which puts us on a sound footing for a sustainable future.” The launch fulfils a promise made a little over two years ago by former CEO Tom Purves, who revealed that the near-silence of electric propulsion and the fact that full torque is available from standstill in electric cars, would align “perfectly” with Rolls’s core values.

To support the 102EX’s arrival, Rolls-Royce has launched a special website, <> , to promote global debate. The site will deliver regular updates about the car’s progress on tour.

Steve Cropley

See all the latest Rolls-Royce Phantom reviews, news and video

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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