Best of British! Rolls-Royce unveils new luxury ‘Spectre’ electric car in ‘historic’ leap

Rolls-Royce announces all electric 'Spectre' model vehicle

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The zero-emissions Spectre will go on sale before the end of 2023 and signal a switch to battery-powered vehicles from the BMW-owned firm by 2030. A price for the first of the firm’s new luxury electric cars has yet to be confirmed but with owners spending upwards of 260,000 on a two-door Wraith, or nearly £500,000 for one of its best Phantom limousine models, prices are expected to be significantly high. Spectre has close links to James Bond as it is the name of the fictional spy 007 comes face-to-face with in the new film No Time to Die, which is released in cinemas today (Thursday) and stars Daniel Craig.

Bosses at the luxury car brand said the complete switch to electric-powered vehicles within the next decade is “the most significant day in the history of Rolls-Royce” since it was founded 117 years ago.

The newly-released pictures of the car show it in camouflaged form only, with close details of Spectre either blurred or well hidden by a string of quotes from its founders, including from the likes of the Honourable Charles Rolls and Sir Henry Royce about electrification, design and engineering excellence.

The Honourable Charles Rolls said “the electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean”, while Sir Henry Royce added the lines “Strive for perfection in everything we do”, “Take the best that exists and make it better” and “When it does not exist, design it”.

However, some details of the new car are clear in the pictures, from its two-door, sweeping body design, and hints of an electrified alternative to the brand’s existing Wraith model.

Rolls-Royce will soon launch a 1.5million-mile global testing programme with Spectre – equal to 400 years of use.

The firm had so far only committed to launching an electric car by the end of the decade, but the announcement of Spectre shows it has significantly accelerated those plans.

Chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös said: “Over the past decade, I have been repeatedly asked, when will Rolls-Royce go electric? And when will you produce your first electric car?

“I answered with an unambiguous promise: ‘Rolls-Royce will go electric, starting this decade. Today, I’m keeping my word’.”

He said Sir Henry Royce was “one of the first electrical engineers, who supplied motors to the earliest electric cars”.

Rolls-Royce said: “Indeed, some have speculated that, had he been able to solve the range and charging issues, Sir Henry Royce may have chosen electric power alone for his cars.”

The Hon Charles Rolls owned an early electric car and praised the imported battery-powered Columbia model as ‘the best of its type’, the firm said.

He owned a battery charging station at his car showroom in Fulham for some of the first Brougham electric cars which were popular at the time.

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The co-founder had said: “The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean. There is no smell or vibration, and they should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged.”

On the road to its electric future, Rolls-Royce has within the last decade produced two prototype electric cars.

Mr Müller-Ötvös added: “Today is the most significant day in the history of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars since 4th May, 1904.

“On that date, our founding fathers, Charles Rolls and Sir Henry Royce, first met and agreed that they were going to create ‘the best motor car in the world’.

“Using the most advanced technology available to them at the time and by applying their remarkable engineering minds, these two pioneers elevated early internal combustion engine cars, from noisy, uncomfortable and rudimentary means of transportation, by setting a completely new benchmark of distinction.

“Today, 117 years later, I am proud to announce that Rolls-Royce is to begin the on-road testing programme for an extraordinary new product that will elevate the global all-electric car revolution and create the first – and finest – super-luxury product of its type.

“With this new product we set out our credentials for the full electrification of our entire product portfolio by 2030.

“By then, Rolls-Royce will no longer be in the business of producing or selling any internal combustion engine products.”

“This is not a prototype. It’s the real thing, it will be tested in plain sight and our clients will take first deliveries of the car in the fourth quarter of 2023.”

“You will see these test cars on roads, around the world. Look out for them.”

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