Rolls-Royce has started on-road testing of its first all-electric production car, the Spectre, ahead of a market launch in the fourth quarter of 2023. By then, prototypes will have covered 150 million miles in a range of conditions, which Rolls-Royce equates to a simulated 400 years of use.
The first prototype spotted by our spy photographers appears to be the same car shown earlier this year in official preview images, but the design is much clearer to see here. The Goodwood firm’s CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, was adamant that the prototype is a faithful representation of the production car.
The Spectre will be a swept-back two-door grand tourer with a characteristically long bonnet and muscular proportions – characteristics that line it up as a viable replacement for the Wraith, which first went on sale in 2013.
Rolls-Royce has yet to confirm plans to end production of the Wraith, but it withdrew both the hard-top version and its Dawn soft-top sibling from sale in the US this year, suggesting a wind-down is imminent.
Notably, the Wraith and Dawn are the only models in the Rolls-Royce line-up to still use a platform developed entirely by parent company BMW – derived from the F01-generation 5 Series, which arrived in 2008. The larger Phantom, Ghost and Cullinan now use Rolls-Royce’s own Architecture of Luxury platform, which can house a pure-electric drivetrain and will eventually underpin every Rolls-Royce model.
The luxury brand first previewed its approach to electrification with 2011’s Phantom-based 102EX concept, which was devised chiefly to determine the viability of EV power as a replacement for its large-capacity petrol engines.