BMW Group has a prototype of the first Rolls Royce electric car ready at its Munich R&D centre, says a new report from autocar.co.uk. It’s a battery-powered Rolls-Royce Phantom, but the EV coming to the market could be an entirely new car/model line, possibly called ‘Silent Shadow’.
The first series production Rolls Royce electric car could feature a design inspired by the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 (codename: Rolls-Royce 103EX) EV concept from 2016. It would incorporate motor and battery technology very similar to that of the BMW iX. BMW Group is developing the Rolls-Royce EV parallelly with the BMW i7, and plans to use many common components for the top-notch electric cars.
Coming to the expected name, BMW Group had made a trademark application for the name ‘Silent Shadow’, and it has obtained rights for the same, as per web reports. It is possible that the company has reserved this name for the first series-production Rolls Royce electric car. Manufacturers file trademark applications regularly as we’ve explained in this story but not all of them become production models.
When Rolls-Royce wasn’t a BMW Group company, in the pre-2000 era, it had a Silver Shadow model in the line-up. Silver Shadow debuted the first Rolls-Royce with monocoque construction and it’s quite possible that ‘Silent Shadow’ would be applied on a car as revolutionary, perhaps the first all-electric Rolls-Royce that has been confirmed by the company.
Has Rolls-Royce confirmed a production electric car?
Speaking to europe.autonews.com last year, Torsten Muller-Otvos, the company’s CEO, provided new hope of spotting a Rolls Royce electric car on the roads in the not-too-distant future.
The first emissions-free Rolls-Royce will break cover later this decade. Though customers appreciate electric power, according to a company spokesman who connected with Automotive News Europe last year, they are not asking for a battery-powered car yet.
The Rolls-Royce spokesman did suggest that while customers aren’t looking for a Rolls Royce electric car, they may be forced to at some point. Initially, legislation, not customer demand, would create the necessary conditions for a Rolls-Royce EV. If there’s a ban on ICE cars in one of the hotspots for Rolls-Royce customers, then they’d call for an electric version and the company will need to be ready with one.
Lifting a charging cable out of a car’s trunk is not something Rolls-Royce would want to put its super-rich clients through. However, wireless EV charging technology could mature and a network could become accessible by the time the company launches an EV, and luxury life would continue without an electrical cord or a charging gun. In 2021, the Genesis JW and the Hongqi E-HS9 will offer the wireless charging feature.
Would the new Ghost, not Silent Shadow, be the first Rolls Royce electric car?
In an open letter published in July, Muller-Otvos had confirmed that like the first-gen car, the all-new Ghost will have a lifespan of a decade. That makes the new model a candidate for becoming the first Rolls Royce electric car.
The desire for a more understated Rolls-Royce Ghost means a quieter powertrain operation, and what better a step than a fully-electrified powertrain could address that?
The 2021 Rolls-Royce Ghost, available in standard and Extended (long-wheelbase) versions, employs a petrol engine with no electrification whatsoever. It’s a 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 mill generating 571 PS of power and 850 Nm of torque. Rolls-Royce does not plan to offer a Ghost plug-in hybrid EV.
Muller-Otvos has said previously said that Rolls-Royce is focusing on 100% electric vehicles. At the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours D’elegance (August 2019), where he had confirmed that a Rolls-Royce EV is in the works, he stated that a Ghost EV is possible, but a Ghost PHEV is not. The Mk2 Ghost shares the Architecture of Luxury platform with the Mk2 Phantom and the first-ever Cullinan, and this platform is BEV-ready.
‘Silent Shadow’ not the first ever Electric Rolls
Going fully electric wouldn’t be a radical shift in thinking for the British luxury brand. In 2011, Rolls-Royce made a one-off Phantom Experimental Electric a.k.a. 102 EX to get opinion and reaction of its shareholders, clients and the public. Replacing the 6.75-litre V12 petrol engine was a 71 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and two electric motors, each rated 145 kW for a total power output of 290 kW and peak torque of 800 Nm.
The Phantom EE had a range of 200 km in a single charge and can be charged to full capacity in eight hours through three-phase charging. The car can drive from 0 to 100 km/h in under eight seconds and has a top speed of 160 km/h. Of course the version that eventually goes on sale would have far superior attributes.