Rolls-Royce will launch its first series-production electric car in late 2023 and has pledged to phase out combustion engines across its entire line-up by 2030.
The first product to emerge from this rapid-fire electrification strategy will be the all-new Spectre, which has been previewed ahead of the 'imminent' start of what will be a highly publicised on-road development programme.
Read more: Rolls-Royce Spectre review
Seemingly based on the Rolls-Royce Wraith coupé, the development prototype is adorned with one of the best-known quotes from company co-founder Sir Henry Royce: "Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it." The quote's presence is likely to be a nod to the Spectre's totally bespoke mechanical make-up, which, Rolls-Royce claims, will be "free of any group sharing strategy".
Rather than using the Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform that underpins parent company BMW's new i4 and iX EVs, Rolls-Royce is sticking with the modular 'Architecture of Luxury' aluminium spaceframe, used for the current Rolls-Royce Phantom and Rolls-Royce Cullinan, that will eventually underpin all Rolls-Royce models.
Company CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös explained that the platform is "scalable and flexible", allowing for its use in a variety of vehicle segments and "was created to form the foundation of not just different internal combustion engine models, as it now does with Cullinan and Ghost, but models with completely different powertrains."
He said the platform – which brought significant improvements in terms of weight, refinement and rigidity to the eighth-generation Phantom – was developed from the start to accommodate an electric powertrain, in addition to the BMW-developed V12, which has featured in Rolls' line-up in various iterations since 1998.
Details on what exactly will power the Spectre remain under wraps, and when pressed by Autocar, Ötvös said only: “We would never use an existing car from the BMW Group and convert it into a Rolls-Royce. That doesn’t work for us.” However, it stands to reason that the 600bhp-plus twin-motor system deployed in the forthcoming BMW iX M60 could find its way into the luxury brand’s models, as it roughly matches the output of the Goodwood firm’s twin-turbocharged 6.6-litre V12.
As for the design of the final product, Ötvös suggested to Autocar that prototypes will give further clues when they hit public roads in the coming weeks, but “what you basically see is what you will later get”. Camouflage obscures most of the test car’s defining features, but the CEO confirmed that it will retain its “fastback-oriented” design into production, which means it will initially sit relatively unrivalled in the nascent electric luxury coupé segment.