In 1900, Rolls-Royce co-founder, Charles Rolls, prophesised an electric future for the motor car recognizing the clean, noiseless alternative to the internal combustion engine – providing there was sufficient infrastructure to support it. The instant torque, silent running, and the sense of one imperceptible gear have defined the characteristics of Rolls-Royce. Today, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars fulfils this prophecy with the first fully electric Rolls-Royce, Spectre.
Spectre marks the start of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars full electrification and Rolls-Royce has confirmed that by 2030 its entire product portfolio will be fully electric. In unveiling Spectre, Rolls-Royce sets a new precedent in the creation of an entirely original class of motor car, the Ultra-Luxury Electric Super Coupé.
The design’s most dramatic feature is Spectre’s fastback. Spectre’s size required designers to utilize with 23-inch wheels in almost one hundred years. Inside, Spectre is available with Starlight Doors, which incorporate 4,796 softly illuminated ‘stars,’ excluding Starlight Headliner.
Spectre delivers the iconic Rolls-Royce drive as it is built on the ‘Architecture of Luxury’ – a new, highly flexible all-aluminium spaceframe architecture, has been tailored for electric drive. The final power, acceleration and range figures are still being refined, as the fine tuning of Spectre enters its final phase. Preliminary data shows that Spectre will have an all-electric estimated EPA* range of up to 260 miles. It is anticipated to achieve 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds (0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds).
Spectre commissions will start at an MSRP in the United States of $413,500 and Canada $487,950. Spectre is available for commission immediately, with first client deliveries commencing in Q4 2023.
ALL-ALUMINIUM ARCHITECTURE OF LUXURY
2003 saw the first Goodwood-era Phantom, built upon its own Bespoke architecture. This renaissance of the brand was Rolls-Royce 1.0. Following this, the ‘Architecture of Luxury’ was conceived – a new, highly flexible all-aluminium spaceframe architecture, and visionary feat of engineering, that could be tailored for electric drive, as well as today’s Phantom, Cullinan and Ghost models, and Coachbuild projects.
This expansion of the marque’s offering was Rolls-Royce 2.0. The ability to tailor the Architecture of Luxury for electric drive was a fundamental consideration when it was first conceived. However, it is only now that electric drive technology is advanced enough to fulfil the Rolls-Royce experience. The introduction of a fully-electric powertrain and Decentralised Intelligence into the marque’s portfolio represents Rolls-Royce 3.0 and the beginning of the bold new all-electric era.
By ensuring from the outset that the Architecture of Luxury could be tailored to the requirements of an all-electric Rolls-Royce, the marque’s engineers ensured the continuity of experience from its current portfolio, each evolution of which has done much to secure the brand’s ongoing global success. Indeed, the inherent flexibility of the architecture and ease of integration of an electric powertrain has freed engineers, designers and craftspeople to focus on the quality of experience, authenticity of design and innovation in Bespoke.
For Spectre, Rolls-Royce engineers have unlocked further benefits. The sophisticated 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. The flexibility of the architecture has also allowed engineers to place the floor halfway between the sill structures rather than on top or underneath them.
A channel has been created for wiring and climate control pipework between the battery and the floor, with the battery mounted underneath, providing a perfectly smooth underfloor profile. This not only creates a low seating position and enveloping cabin but realises a secondary function for the battery – almost 700kg of sound deadening.
For Spectre, Rolls-Royce’s engineers have seen much of their discipline pivot from the workshop to the digital space. Spectre is the most connected Rolls-Royce in history, and in harnessing the power of the motor car’s remarkable Decentralised Intelligence processing capabilities there is more requirement than ever for expert human experience.
To ensure the continuity of the Rolls-Royce experience, as well as its progression, the marque selected the most experienced test and development engineers to lead the project, some of whom have been with the marque for more than two decades and were responsible for creating the first ‘Goodwood-era’ Phantom.
These engineers describe the experience offered by Spectre as akin to “Rolls-Royce in high definition” on account of the speed and accuracy of the motor car’s response to a worldwide spread of road and weather conditions.
For this to be realised, a dedicated control has been handmade for each of the 141,200 sender-receiver variables, and in nearly all cases engineers have designed several more sub-variables for variations in climate, ground speed, road type, vehicle status and driving style. These have been crafted over the course of Spectre’s 2.5 million kilometre testing programme both on advanced proving grounds and on real roads around the world.
In testing Spectre, the process includes extreme driving conditions – development of the motor car began just 55km from the arctic circle in Arjeplog, Sweden, at temperatures as low as -40 degrees centigrade, and it will continue across Southern Africa, in temperatures of up to 55 degrees centigrade. Yet, 55% of testing is taking place on the very roads that many production Spectres will be driven on. Of particular significance was the French Riviera. It was on the Côte d’Azur that Spectre’s digitally integrated evolution of the renowned Planar suspension system was finalised.
Planar suspension is an orchestra of systems with precisely defined responses to driver inputs and road conditions, made possible by the latest software and hardware developments, delivering Rolls-Royce’s hallmark ‘magic carpet ride’.
Using a suite of new hardware components and leveraging Spectre’s high-speed processing capabilities, the Planar system can decouple the car’s anti-roll bars allowing each wheel to act independently, preventing the rocking motion that occurs when one side of a vehicle hits an undulation in the road. This also reduces high-frequency ride imperfections caused by shortcomings in road surface quality.
Once a corner is identified as imminent, the Planar system recouples the components and stiffens the dampers, the four-wheel steering system is then prepared for activation to ensure effortless entry and exit. Under cornering, 18 sensors are monitored, and steering, braking, power delivery and suspension parameters are adjusted so that Spectre remains stable. The result is effortless control.
POWER, RANGE AND DIMENSIONS
The final power, acceleration and range figures are still being refined, as the extraordinary undertaking of finessing Spectre enters its final phase before concluding in the second quarter of 2023. Preliminary data shows that Spectre is expected to have an all-electric range of 320 miles/520 kilometres WLTP and offer 900Nm of torque from its 430kW powertrain. It is anticipated to achieve 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds (0-100km/h in 4.5 seconds).
With many months of testing and optimisation of Spectre still ahead, these figures are subject to change ahead of official confirmation prior to market launch in Q4 2023.
Number of doors / seats 2 doors / 4 seats
Vehicle length 5453 mm / 214.685 in
Vehicle width 2080 mm / 81.889 in
Vehicle height (unladen) 1559 mm / 61.377 in
Wheelbase 3210 mm / 126.378 in
Turning circle 12.7 m
Kerb weight 2975 kg
Spectre is available for commission immediately, with first client deliveries commencing in Q4 2023. Spectre pricing will be positioned between Cullinan and Phantom.