The grand old dame of motoring is getting a modern makeover.
Reports from UK publication Autocar suggest the brand is working on an electric Roller potentially called the “Silent Shadow”.
It’s a big change of direction for the luxury car maker, which is known for thirsty, large capacity engines and heavy vehicles. It also builds jet engines for commercial aeroplanes.
The understanding is that Rolls-Royce won’t simply plonk an electric motor and batteries in an existing vehicle, as many companies have done with their first foray into zero emissions. Instead the uber luxurious maker will use a brand new electric car platform.
Rolls-Royce is likely to borrow heavily from its parent company BMW, which is well advanced in building a new line of electric vehicles.
The “Silent Shadow” is expected to share its underpinnings with BMW’s coming i7 large SUV.
Sharing of platforms is commonplace among large vehicle manufacturers, allowing them to share the huge costs of developing electric cars across several brands.
The VW Group shares components and platforms across the Audi Q7, Bentley Bentayga, Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg SUVs.
And Hyundai has just revealed its new scalable electric car platform, which will be used to build EVs in all sizes from small hatches to large seven seat SUVs.
The electric Rolls-Royce would be critical to the brand’s expansion in China, which is one of the world’s biggest markets for electric cars and Rolls-Royce.
The famed British brand first debuted a radical looking electric car concept back in 2016 named the 103EX.
It is unclear whether Rolls-Royce will keep the car’s futuristic styling, but there should be some design elements carried over.
Power for the machine will likely come from several electric motors, which will be required to shift the EV’s excessive bulk and provide all-wheel drive.
A Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV weighs in at more than 2600kg, so once heavy batteries are added the Rolls could tip the scales at close to three tonnes.
The cheapest Rolls-Royce costs more than $600,000 plus on-roads in Australia. An electric version built on an all-new platform could easily eclipse the brand’s most expensive machine, the $1m-plus Phantom.