Rolls-Royce 102EX
Rolls-Royce 102EX Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

At the grand opening of the Rolls-Royce dealership in Chicago's Gold Coast area, Kicking Tires got the chance to sit down with David Archibald, president of Rolls-Royce North America. On discussion was the general business strategy of the ultra luxury brand and how electrics play into that.

Since its debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the 102EX Concept electric vehicle has been making the rounds at various events and dealerships. The automaker is even letting customers drive the concept back-to-back against the Phantom (on which it is based) to get an idea if it has market potential. According to Automotive News initial feedback has been a bit lackluster, with the 100-mile range being the biggest hurdle.

However, Archibald pointed out, "If you'd have come here 12 months ago and asked our customers, 'What do you think about alternative fuels,' they would have said, 'What are you talking about.'" Now, that's starting to change as new electric vehicles are pretty much popping up weekly.

Still, no decision has been made regarding a production electric or hybrid. With alternative fuels now on the minds of even a luxury car buyer, it sounds to us like it's not a matter of if but when.