Rolls-Royce has confirmed that a battery powered Phantom, an experimental prototype dubbed the 102EX, will debut at the Geneva Motor Show in a couple of weeks. This is the first official confirmation that Rolls Royce is heading down the pure battery electric path instead of hybridization.
Despite the fact battery electric vehicles might seem better suited to smaller urban commuters like the Nissan Leaf and the coming Ford Focus Electric a BEV Roller actually makes a lot of sense. Rolls-Royce uses names like Ghost and Phantom because of its reputation for extraordinary quietness and smoothness. Replacing a big V12 with an silent and vibration-free electric motor seems like a perfect fit for a Roller.
Because of the way they’re typically used, range is also less likely to be an issue for the big Phantom. Owners of these big limos are more likely to be found in the cavernous rear compartment than at the wheel. Phantoms often shuttle occupants between the office, dinner or the theater and they sit and wait a lot. Rather than take the Phantom for a long road trip, it will be used deliver the owners to the executive terminal at the airport so they can take the Gulfstream, making a 100-150 mile Phantom a “practical” alternative.
Technical details of the 102EX electric Phantom will be released at the Geneva Show on March 1, but we probably can expect a large bank of lithium ion batteries under the elongated hood and perhaps an electric motor mounted at the rear axle. In the meantime, Rolls has launched a microsite at www.electricluxury.com where visitors can discuss the future of luxury. Following the Geneva show the prototype will go on tour to gauge its performance and customers reactions to such a machine.