Earlier this year, Goodwood-based luxury automaker Rolls Royce unveiled an experimental electric vehicle built atop of the Phantom platform.
The one-off 102EX serves as a test bed to gather data which will be crucial in future decisions around electric models going into production. And the first feedback is in. According to Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes in an interview for Auto News, customers have had mixed feelings about potential electric versions of the automaker’s vehicles. Mueller-Oetvoes also said that buyers of the $380,000 Phantom and $245,000 Ghost models often live on the outskirts of major cities and may not accept an electric car’s 100-mile range.
Furthermore, the company has said it has no plans at present to produce EVs.
Ever since its unveiling at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the Phantom 102EX was part of a global tour, allowing owners and enthusiasts to test drive the EV and provide feedback. No customers have approached the automaker to ask for electric versions of the cars, which now feature 12-cylinder engines, Mueller-Oetvoes said for Auto News.
The long-time rumored Rolls Royce hybrid might be an option for production due to their capability to deliver both electric driving combined with a combustion engine.
In the Phantom 102EX, engineers replaced the 6.75-liter V-12 with a massive 71-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery housed within the aluminum spaceframe. Rolls-Royce is using large-form NCM pouch cells, or lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese-oxide to be exact. Due to its experimental nature, the 96 cells are separated into 5 modules (38-, 36-, 10-, 8-, and 4-cell units) and arranged in such a way that the overall battery takes on the shape of an engine and transmission. The battery weighs 1,411 pounds.
The battery outputs 850 amperes at 338 volts to two electric motors linked to a rear transaxle. The single-speed gearbox takes each motor’s 145 kilowatts (194 horsepower) and sends up to 388 horsepower to the rear wheels. Given its electric nature, the two motors will have up 590 combined pound-feet of torque on demand. The 0-60 mph time is quoted as being under 8 seconds, and there’s a governed top speed of just under 100 mph. A quite impressive performance for such a massive vehicle, around 3,000 kilograms.
The driving range is said to be up to 124 miles. In order to charge the battery, a three-phase charger would need 8 hours, while a single-phase (presumably 220/240V) would take 20 hours.