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Rolls-Royce releases first electric vehicle, Spectre

Electric cars are taking over the luxury realm, changing the motoring landscape in the shift for a greener, cleaner future. Meet Rolls-Royce’s Spectre.

Words: Michael Stahl

Powerful, luxurious cars and eco-friendly initiatives aren’t usually mentioned in the same breath. And you probably wouldn’t expect to see a $770,000 Rolls-Royce mega-luxury coupe featured in a story about sustainability, but there’s more to the new Rolls-Royce Spectre (even more than its 5.5-metre length and 2.9-tonne heft) than meets the eye.

white interior of Rolls-Royce Spectre
© Rolls-Royce

The first EV from Rolls-Royce

Due in Australia this November, Rolls-Royce Spectre is the first electric vehicle (EV) in the company’s 112 years. The serene and near-silent Spectre brings Rolls-Royce into the automotive industry’s enforced rush to embrace EVs, under a range of governments’ carrot-and-stick initiatives like the UK’s banning of new petrol– and diesel– fuelled (otherwise known as internal combustion engines, or ICE) vehicles from 2030. Hybrid vehicles, which combine ICE and EV propulsion, will be included in the ban from 2035.

© Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce’s Spectre offers a comforting familiarity to the future landscape. The main components of an EV – a large battery and an electric motor (or two, in this case) – no longer dictate traditional exterior shapes or interior packaging. Yet the Spectre’s long, thrusting bonnet and upright radiator grille – a “face” retained purely for aesthetics – have been woven into an astonishingly efficient aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.25.

a gold rolls-royce spectre car
© Rolls-Royce

The Spectre’s 700-kilogram battery, integrated into the floor, offers a touring range between charges of 530 kilometres. This figure is intentionally aligned with current petrol-engined models, rather than overcompensating for EV buyers’ ‘range anxiety’ with ‘moonshot’ EV range records (currently 1,200 kilometres, held by MercedesBenz’s bold Vision EQXX concept car). The doors are automated, there’s a voice assistant and the for the first time, the instrument dials appear on a screen rather than a clock face. Rolls-Royce’s Spectre marks the beginning of a new era for the maker, which aims to see the entire model portfolio electrified by 2030. 

Read more:

Green machines: the new generation of eco-friendly cars
Five luxury carmakers accelerating towards sustainability
A review of the Ferrari Roma

This article originally appeared in volume 45 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. Subscribe to the latest issue today.

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