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Rolls-Royce Spectre 2023: brand teases first EV in magnificent coupe form


Rolls-Royce has released images of its first electric vehicle – a two-door coupe planned for release in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Heralded as the “most significant day in the history of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars,” Rolls-Royce today revealed a pre-production version of its first purely electric model, a two-door coupe called the ‘Spectre’

While details on battery sizes and range remain unknown, Rolls-Royce did shed light on the Spectre’s underpinnings, revealing that the coupe utilises the same Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform as the Phantom sedan and Cullinan large SUV – plus a host of BMW models, as well.

As for acceleration times and power outputs – Rolls-Royce are rarely so vulgar as to say, preferring to say that their vehicles are purely adequate on such measures.

Cluster Architecture is EV-ready

Due to the significant size and weight differences between an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric drivetrain, EVs are generally better suited to using platforms exclusively designed for electric drivetrains from the get-go, rather than retrofitting legacy platforms.

2023 Rolls Royce Spectre black coupe exterior side
The Spectre appears to be of similar size to the Wraith, which is 5,269mm long.

This normally allows the EV platform to better accommodate a battery pack, have a lower centre of gravity, offer better occupant protection during head-on collisions (due to the deletion of a big, heavy engine, in this case, a 6.7-litre V12), and provide greater interior space.

However, the Cluster Architecture chassis used by Rolls-Royce and other brands in the BMW Group was developed to support fully electrified offerings from launch.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chief executive officer, Torsten Müller-Ötvös said that the marque incorporated the use of an electric drivetrain into the original design of the Cluster Architecture platform, saying “In 2017, we debuted Phantom, and with it the marque’s proprietary aluminium architecture: a scalable and flexible spaceframe that would underpin all forthcoming Rolls-Royce motor cars.

“… our forthcoming electric car benefits from the Rolls-Royce architecture,” Müller-Ötvös adds. “Free of any group platform sharing strategy, we were able to integrate our plans for an electric powertrain into the architecture’s initial design and ensure that this extraordinary new product meets the extremely high expectations of our clients.”

2023 Rolls Royce Spectre black coupe exterior top
Rolls-Royce has made other EVs – the 102EX and 103EX – but they were merely concept cars.

But while the Spectre’s underpinnings appear ready for production, development of the rest of the car (drivetrain, suspension, interior, etc) is yet to be finalised, with a claimed 2.5 million kilometres of international on-road testing still to be completed.

When it does go on sale – likely at a price no lower than the Rolls Royce Ghost ($635,000 before on-road costs) – the vehicle will mark Rolls Royce’s first step towards phasing out its range of combustion-powered vehicles by 2030.

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