Rolls-Royce doesn’t do half steps; EVs in the future, no hybrids

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom

2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom

It’s all or nothing at Rolls-Royce. The maker of some of the most opulent cars on the road today says it will not equip its vehicles with plug-in hybrid systems, but eventually, it will have no choice but to offer battery-electric cars.

Previously, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said the brand will pursue purely electric powertrains when the technology is suitable to replace its mammoth V-12 engines with battery packs and electric motors. However, regulatory environments in Asia and Europe had the CEO take a different tone at the 2018 Phantom’s launch this month, according to Car and Driver.

“We are more regulator driven than consumer driven,” Müller-Ötvös told the publication. “We might well see, in the next decade, some Asian markets closing down city centers to combustion engines completely. And then, of course, (electrification) is a must.”

The executive added: “I haven’t seen a single check arriving on my desk saying, ‘Build me one.’” Apparently, an all-electric, production Rolls-Royce hasn’t happened—yet.


Rolls Royce Phantom Experimental Electric 102EX

Rolls Royce Phantom Experimental Electric 102EX

Like his previous comments, Müller-Ötvös reaffirmed hybrids are not in the cards at his brand and “interim steps” are not a part of the strategy, but the new Phantom’s platform was engineered with electric powertrains in mind. It’s plausible that during the Phantom VIII’s life cycle electric power will arrive. BMW CEO Harald Krueger said “electrified” Rolls-Royce cars are part of a broader vehicle strategy in the future.

However, “battery-electric” and “electrified” cars can employ very different powertrains. Electrification can mean a simple 48-volt mild-hybrid system.

At present, Rolls-Royce won’t equip its vehicles with any Level 2 self-driving technology either. In line with the brand’s motifs, Müller-Ötvös said only when self-driving systems are “really effortless” will his brand offer an autonomous driving experience. His comments likely mean BMW’s enhanced cruise-control system won’t make its way to a Rolls-Royce vehicle anytime soon.

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