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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rolls-Royce Contemplates Extended-Range EV

The CEO of Rolls-Royce Torsten Müller-Ötvös has ruled out building a production version of his company's 102EX electric Phantom concept, at least in the near future.

After taking the concept on a world tour, and allowing more than 500 potential customers, including us, to take it for spin, Rolls-Royce cedes that demand for such a vehicle is simply not sufficient enough to warrant production.

Speaking with Car and Driver, Müller-Ötvös explained that while those who drove the 102EX were impressed by its near-silent driving and strong acceleration, the lengthy charge times required and the issue of range-anxiety left a sour taste with most.

This backs up previous comments from the Rolls-Royce CEO that customers weren’t asking for the 102EX to be produced anytime soon. Most Rolls-Royce customers tend to live outside major city areas and thus would find a Nissan Leaf-like 100-mile range unacceptable.

However, Müller-Ötvös has previously stated that a range-extended system more like the one found in the Chevy Volt may be a better fit, and this is something Rolls-Royce may certainly look into. In his latest interview he states that a plug-in hybrid could work as a solution, combining “the advantages of both worlds.”

First introduced at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the 102EX electric Phantom concept featured a lithium-ion battery pack powering two electric motors that drove the rear axle via a single-speed gearbox. The setup was capable of performance that came very close to matching that of that the 6.7-liter V-12 gasoline engine in the Phantom: Rolls-Royce estimates less than eight seconds to reach 60 mph compared to 6.7 for the regular car.

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