While there was no surprise that Rolls-Royce chose to launch the new Phantom with a V12 petrol engine, the company has also been dropping broad hints it will follow with an EV version.
Those hints started as long ago as 2011 with the 102EX concept, but now CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös has confirmed that the new Phantom is likely to receive the option of a pure electric powertrain during its lifespan.
As we’ve previously reported, Rolls is not planning to offer hybrids, with the plan being to introduce an electric powertrain alongside internal combustion engines. “We will go full electric, we don’t do any interim steps,” Müller-Ötvös told Caradvice at the launch of the Phantom VIII in Switzerland, “emission free is emission free.”
While admitting that electrification isn’t being demanded by Rolls-Royce’s well-heeled clientele – “I haven’t seen a single cheque arriving on my desk saying ‘build me one’”, Müller-Ötvös admits – it is likely to be forced by legislative changes, especially in Asia where Rolls anticipates some major cities will soon announce plans to ban internal combustion engines.
“Then, of course, it will become a must,” he said, “and I fully agree [the Phantom] is perfect, that is what we have already done a few years ago with the 102EX.”
But the company remains more sceptical on autonomy, with Müller-Ötvös saying there are no plans to bring any of BMW’s enhanced cruise control systems to Rolls-Royce products.
“It all depends on the progress of the development side,” he said, “when it is right and advanced enough that it is a really effortless experience for customers… not needing to keep your finger on the steering wheel.”
Müller-Ötvös also said there won’t be a “Black Badge” performance version of the Phantom, as there has been with the Ghost, Wraith and now Dawn: “that wouldn’t be right for the car, it’s not what customers expect.”