Rolls-Royce kick-started its research in electric powertrains back in 2011 when it unveiled the 102EX, an experimental prototype based on the Phantom with a pair of electric motors making a combined 389 bhp. The dual motors got their necessary juice from a 71-kWh battery, which offered 124 miles (200 kilometres) of range between charges.
103EX followed in 2016, and while technical specifications weren't released, the luxobarge made quite a splash with its extravagant design and its sheer size, stretching at a stately 5.91 metres (19.4 feet) long. It signalled Rolls-Royce's intentions of accelerating EV development, which we now know will materialise in the final quarter of 2023 with the Spectre teased here for the first time.
Looking at the camouflaged prototype, it's understandable why you might be tempted to say this is just a Wraith with the oily bits replaced with electric motors and a battery pack, but the Spectre is an all-new development. Rather than being based on a BMW platform as was the case with the Wraith, the upcoming electric vehicle rides on the same Architecture of Luxury as the latest Ghost and Phantom.
The Goodwood-based marque isn't willing to go into details for the time being, only saying the Spectre will be subjected to a comprehensive testing program. It will cover 2.5 million kilometres (1.55M miles) – more than any other RR before it – which will serve as a simulation of what it would be to use a Rolls for 400 years. The gruelling test will involve travelling to all four corners of the globe in a bit to "push this new motor to the limit."
Spectre will lead the way for Rolls-Royce’s EV onslaught, with all products going electric by the end of the decade. It will enable the BMW-owned brand to fulfill a prophecy made by Charles Rolls in April 1900 after he drove an electric car developed by American brand Columbia.
"The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean. There is no smell or vibration, and
they should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged. But for now, I
do not anticipate that they will be very serviceable – at least for many years to come."
Fast forward more than 120 years later, the first RR EV is inching closer.