• Jul 12th 2011 at 7:58AM
  • 15
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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Justin Campanale
      • 4 Years Ago
      At first it seems like blasphemy, but when you realize that RR's need a lot of low end torque, and that they need to be queit, electric is perfect for the job
      • 4 Years Ago
      An electric Rolls is the most logical thing in the world. If you buy a Rolls, you want to waft to your destination in near silence. Electric motors are near silent. The very wealthy can afford to have a car for the city and a car for the country, and the famous very wealthy are increasingly wanting to show off how green they are - witness the popularity of the Prius among Hollywood celebrities. With an Electric Rolls, they can trumpet their green cred and have a proper luxury car.
      Mike Ireland
      • 4 Years Ago
      i don't know; an electric Rolls-Royce sounds like an oxymoron! you give it to the valet and ask him to 'plug it in'?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Mike Ireland
        Not if it has the same regenerating system as most other hybrids and EVs have. The Fisker Karma is a perfect example of this.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Darn my cynical eyes that read “failure in electric cars”.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Electric is absolutely the direction that RR should be going in. Quiet, seamless power is exactly what EVs offer and is also what RRs have tried to be for ages now. I find it ridiculous that a vehicle as ginormous as the Phantom only has room for 100-miles worth of batteries. The much, much smaller Leaf has about 100 miles worth of batteries. If RR actually designed a car from the ground up as an EV, I wouldn't be surprised if they could easily double that range. And with new battery technologies/discoveries coming on board every few months, that range could be 300-400 mile range in the next few years. In the interim, RR should be looking at a Chevy Volt-like alternative.... the car itself is electric so it still gives you that quiet, smooth operation of an EV, but it has an extended-range ICE to give you essentially unlimited range.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't think lack of space for batteries is the problem. An electric Phantom probably weighs a bit over 3 tons, so it needs to draw a lot of power just to get moving — and even an electric Rolls needs to accelerate pretty quickly to be able to interest their typical customers.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree with most of the people in here, electric is the way to go for RR. The only issue they should have is power. The car is going to be heavier than a regular Phantom due to the batteries, and besides luxury, RR is known for having a lot of HP. So as long as it can get to 60 in the mid to low 5 range, than I see no problem for RR. Oh, and for the 100 miles range, that should be no problem for the company. As you can see on sites like Autotrader.com 5 year old Phantoms sell with less that 20,000 miles on them, some far less than that. That averages to around 300 miles a month.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Agree with you guys, perfect fit for RR- silent and torquey.
      Augustus T
      • 4 Years Ago
      David Archibald knows more about golf clubs than he does cars and his customers!.
      • 4 Years Ago
      In before Dan Hendrickson...
      avinash Machado
      • 4 Years Ago
      The silence of an EV motor will be a nice fit.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can't think of a better application. Rolls Royces are the ideal candidate for electric power. They weigh a couple tons and cost as much as a house, so more batteries won't hurt. And the V12 has seemingly been trying to mimic a electric car with it's quietness, smoothness and low-end torque.
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