Throughout its existence, Rolls-Royce has relied on the use of internal combustion engines in propelling their automobiles to the highest of heights in luxury motoring. The 107-year of building vehicles to the ultimate zenith of uncompromised luxury, Rolls-Royce’s history has gravitated to gasoline. Even as modern trends seek a new definition of luxury through more compact sizes and alternative powertrains, British luxury badge Rolls-Royce was never seen on a provocative design study until the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Experimental concept car Rolls-Royce 102EX Phantom reveals what could be the grandest electric car ever produced.
Composing the form of the production-going Rolls-Royce Phantom sedan, the 102EX project car major notable difference is found through underneath the enormous 229.7 inch body. Gone from under the Rolls-Royce’s bonnet, the 6.7 liter V-12 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission is replaced with a more experimental propulsion. The 102EX Phantom EE (Experimental Electric) features an all-electric transplant consisting of two electric motors and a Lithium-Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese-Oxide battery. Rolls-Royce contacted British-based Lotus Engineering for the outfitting of this zero-emissions electric powertrain. Foregoing the 453 horsepower which would be been on tap if the V-12 gasoline engine was retained, each electric motor produces 145 kilowatts of energy collecting in moving the converted Phantom EE with 389 horsepower. Projected charging time for the Rolls-Royce 102EX Electric’s lithium ion battery is estimated at 8 hours on a three-phase power supply.
Balancing the electrical power hardware in the engine compartment and behind the rear seat, Lotus Engineering maintained 50:50 weight distribution on the Rolls-Royce 102EX Phantom EE sedan promising some rather impressive performance. According to Lotus Engineering, 0 to 62 mile per hour acceleration is under 8 seconds inside Rolls-Royce’s 102EX concept car. Behind strong but silent acceleration, this Rolls-Royce achieves an electronically-limited top speed of 160 kilometers per hour (just under 100 miles per hour). Slightly subdued compared to the production Phantom model, the Rolls-Royce 102EX concept’s powertrain achieves quiet, graceful movement befitting the product’s ‘Phantom’ name.
In classic Rolls-Royce manner, the electric-powered concept sedan continues to feature fine interior and exterior details few automobiles would dare to replicate. A painstakingly applied 16-coat paint scheme over the Phantom’s aluminum body blends a compound called Atlantic Chrome into the gentle blue exterior. A ceramic nano particle said to be up to 80,000 times thinner than a hair, the 102EX Phantom EE is given a highly reflective shimmer. Special outer design attention was also directed at the electric recharging port. Located on the passenger side of the rear roof pillar, a five-pin socket is accompanied by tri-coloured LED lighting behind a clear access door. Rolls-Royce is also said to be testing a version of induction charging which requires no physical contact through the electrical recharging process.
Inside, the Atlantic Chrome treatment is found within the dash dials, a battery charge indicator appropriately takes the place of the fuel gauge. Unique wood veneers and leather is chosen by Rolls-Royce for the Phantom EE suiting the more environment conscious theme. Using a upholstery called Corinova leather, vegetable-based tanning is brushed on the providing a colouring which is not only petroleum free but recyclable.
Shown at the Geneva Motor Show without true intentions of production, the 102EX Phantom EE concept demonstrates that Rolls-Royce could be connecting with its history more than some would believe. Amusingly enough, that co-founder Henry Royce humble beginning involved working as an electrical engineer.
Information and photo source: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars