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    Rolls-Royce unveils the Spectre battery electric vehicle (BEV)

    Rolls-Royce have debuted the Spectre, the marque’s first 100% electric vehicle (EV). The Spectre, a two-door coupé, marks the beginning of an all-electric era for Rolls-Royce.

    Spectre features a modern sleek aerodynamic look without diverting too much from the classic design. It’s distinctively a Rolls Royce; it’s big, powerful, silent and best of all zero emissions. With the Spectre, Rolls Royce have created the world’s first ultra-luxury electric super coupé.

    Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO, said: “Spectre possesses all the qualities that have secured the Rolls-Royce legend. This incredible motor car, conceived from the very beginning as our first fully-electric model, is silent, powerful and demonstrates how perfectly Rolls-Royce is suited to electrification. 

    “Spectre’s all-electric powertrain will assure the marque’s sustained success and relevance while dramatically increasing the definition of each characteristic that makes a Rolls-Royce a Rolls-Royce.

    “It is perfectly in tune with the sensibilities of our time. It states the direction for the future of our marque and perfectly answers a call from the most discerning individuals in the world to elevate the electric motor car experience because Spectre is a Rolls-Royce first and an electric car second.

    “This is the start of a bold new chapter for our marque, our extraordinary clients and the luxury industry. For this reason, I believe Spectre is the most perfect product that Rolls-Royce has ever produced.”

    Range

    The final power, acceleration and range figures are still being refined, as testing of the  Spectre enters its final phase before concluding in the second quarter of 2023. Preliminary data shows that it’s expected to have an all-electric range of 320 miles (520km) with an expected 900Nm of torque from its 430kW powertrain. It is anticipated to achieve 0-60mph (o-97kph) in just 4.4 seconds. 

    Design

    From the front, Spectre’s split headlight is intersected by the widest grille found on a Rolls-Royce. The vanes of the grille are smooth with a flush fit are designed to help guide the air around the motor car’s front.

    With an aero-tuned Spirit of Ecstasy figurine – itself the product of 830 combined hours of design modelling and wind tunnel testing – the grille enhances the motor car’s unprecedented drag coefficient. This rated at just 0.25cd making Spectre Rolls-Royce’s most aerodynamic car.

    This has been married to the iconography of Spectre’s spiritual predecessor, the Phantom Coupé. Spectre clearly acknowledges this with its generous proportions and split headlight treatment.

    Spectre’s sharp daylight running lights emphasise the car’s two-metre width and are offset with lower lamp clusters that appear darkened, at first glance, but hide jewellery box-like darkened chromium housings for the headlights. 

    The grille is softly illuminated with 22 LEDs lighting up the sandblasted rear side of each of the vanes. Their gentle glow is reflected in the polished front surfaces for a subtle and three-dimensional night signature.

    In profile, the sharp, vertical bow line at the front of Spectre draws the eye rearward to its monolithic flanks. The lower line – known as the ‘waft line’ – borrows directly from yacht design. 

    Instead of exaggerating movement with busy detailing or appliqués, Spectre’s coachwork gently tucks into the sill, lightening the surfacing and creating an uncomplicated sense of motion. It does this by reflecting the road passing beneath it, much as the hull of a racing yacht reflects the ocean as it cuts through water. 

    The silhouette’s most dramatic feature is Spectre’s fastback. The seamlessness of the greenhouse surfacing significantly contributes to achieving the lowest drag coefficient ever for a Rolls-Royce. 

    Following the roofline back, the tail lamps are set into the largest single body panel ever produced for a Rolls-Royce. This extends from the A-pillar to the luggage compartment. 

    The jewel-like vertical tail lamps are colourless for neutrality, in anticipation of the myriad of colourways selected by clients during the commissioning process. Their precision and reduced dimension complement the generous flow of the bodywork from the muscular shoulders backwards into the tail section with its characteristic tapering plan view.

    The proportional demands of Spectre’s scale required Rolls-Royce to embolden its wheel strategy. Spectre is the first production two-door coupé to be equipped with 23-inch wheels in almost one hundred years.

    Inside, Spectre draws inspiration from the timeless mystique of the night sky. For the first time on a series production Rolls-Royce, Spectre is available with Starlight Doors, which incorporate 4,796 softly illuminated stars. 

    The coach doors can also be commissioned with a backdrop of wood Canadel Panelling. This takes its name from the cove in the South of France where Sir Henry Royce and his design team spent their winters.

    Developed over the course of two years and more than 10,000 collective hours, it incorporates the Spectre nameplate surrounded by a cluster of over 5,500 stars. Located on the passenger side of the dashboard, the illuminations are completely invisible when the car is not in operation.

    Alongside the illuminated surfaces, Spectre is equipped with a completely redesigned digital architecture of luxury named SPIRIT, presented in typically Rolls-Royce style. 

    Not only will SPIRIT manage the motor car’s functions but it is seamlessly integrated into the marque’s Whispers application. This allows clients to interact with their car remotely and receive live information curated by the marque’s luxury intelligence specialists.

    For the first time, clients are now able to extend their bespoke commission beyond the physical world and into the digital architecture that underpins SPIRIT. Inspired by the marque’s clients’ love of bespoke timepieces, the colour of the dials can now complement the interior hue of the motor car.

    The all-new front seat design has been inspired by British tailoring, with lapel sections that can be rendered in contrasting or matching colours to the main base. Bespoke stitching, embroidery and intricate piping have been considered in their inception.

    Aluminium Architecture of Luxury

    2003 saw the first Goodwood-era Phantom, built upon its own bespoke architecture. This renaissance of the brand was Rolls-Royce 1.0. Following this, the ‘Architecture of Luxury’ was conceived.

    This new, highly flexible all-aluminium spaceframe architecture has been tailored for the electric drive on the Spectre. The flexibility of the architecture and ease of integration of an electric powertrain have freed engineers, designers and craftspeople to focus on the quality of experience and authenticity of design.

    For Spectre, Rolls-Royce engineers have unlocked further benefits. The sophisticated extruded aluminium sections and integration of the battery into the structure of the motor car enable it to be 30 per cent stiffer than any previous Rolls-Royce. 

    The flexibility of the architecture has also allowed engineers to place the floor halfway between the sill structures rather than on top or underneath them. A channel has been created for wiring and climate control pipework between the battery and the floor. 

    With the battery mounted underneath, it provides a smooth underfloor profile. This not only creates a low seating position and envelopes the cabin but realises a secondary function for the battery – almost 700kg of sound deadening.

    Digital Engineering

    For Spectre, Rolls-Royce’s engineers have seen much of their discipline pivot from the workshop to the digital space. Spectre is the most connected Rolls-Royce in history.

    These engineers describe the experience offered by Spectre as akin to “Rolls-Royce in high definition” because of the speed and accuracy of the car’s response to a wide spread of road and weather conditions.

    To achieve this a dedicated control has been handmade for each of the 141,200 sender-receiver variables. In nearly all cases engineers have designed several more sub-variables for variations in climate, ground speed, road type, vehicle status and driving style. 

    These have been crafted over the course of Spectre’s 2.5 million kilometre testing programme both on advanced proving grounds and on real roads around the world.

    Planar Suspension

    In testing Spectre, the process includes extreme driving conditions. Development of the motor car began just 55km from the arctic circle in Arjeplog, Sweden, at temperatures as low as -40 degrees centigrade. This continues across Southern Africa, in temperatures of up to 55 degrees centigrade. 

    Plus, 55% of testing is taking place on the roads that many production Spectres will be driven on. This includes the French Riviera and it was on the Côte d’Azur that Spectre’s digitally integrated evolution of the renowned Planar suspension system was finalised.

    Planar suspension is a set of systems with precisely defined responses to driver inputs and road conditions. This is made possible by the latest software and hardware developments, delivering Rolls-Royce’s hallmark ‘magic carpet ride’.

    Using a suite of new hardware components and the use of Spectre’s high-speed processing capabilities, the Planar system can decouple the car’s anti-roll bars allowing each wheel to act independently. This prevents the rocking motion that occurs when one side of a vehicle hits an undulation in the road. This also reduces high-frequency ride imperfections caused by issues in road surface quality.

    Once a corner is identified as imminent, the Planar system recouples the components and stiffens the dampers. The four-wheel steering system is then prepared for activation to ensure effortless entry and exit. 

    Under cornering, 18 sensors are monitored, and steering, braking, power delivery and suspension parameters are adjusted so that Spectre remains stable. Rolls Royce says the result is effortless control.

    Debut

    Spectre is available for commission immediately, with the first client deliveries commencing in the fourth quarter of 2023. Spectre pricing will be positioned between Cullinan and Phantom models. Rolls Royce plan for its entire portfolio to be electric by 2030.

    Ian Osborne
    Ian Osborne
    Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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