In Detail: Rolls-Royce 102EX Phantom EV

This week's episode of TRANSLOGIC features the Rolls-Royce 102EX Phantom EE (experimental electric), a one-off concept car that showcases how an EV might survive--even thrive--in a segment where "compromise" is considered a 4-letter word. During the world tour the vehicle has made in the past year, Rolls-Royce has sought to convince potential buyers that an EV doesn't require a trade-off in style or performance. In fact, within the ultra-luxury segment, the high-tech innovations can enhance the James Bond aura all the more. Since the car was unveiled in Geneva last year, the 102EX team has focused on whether an EV can provide the quality customers expect to come out of Goodwood. Emily Dungey, the 102EX project manager who rides in the front seat with Bradley during the episode, views this model as "a prototype to talk to people, to see if when they drive the car, they feel like they're getting the Rolls-Royce experience."

In fact, not only does the 102EX experience provide the expected creature comforts, but there's something even a little more distinguished about driving an electric Rolls. The engineers have found some innovative ways to leverage the unique properties of an EV to up the luxury quotient of the 102EX--ways that wouldn't be possible in a petrol-powered Phantom.

For instance, under the bonnet you take out the V-12 and give way to a giant, 96-cell li-ion battery pack which powers two 145 kW electric motors hooked directly to the rear axel. This direct connection means no driveshaft running through the center of the vehicle, and therefore much more interior space available, particularly in the rear footwell. And, rest assured, the 102EX designers take full advantage of this opportunity, lining the entire vehicle floor in leather, rather than carpet.

The interior is incredible, and it's really pointless in this instance to enumerate all the charms encompassed in the cabin. The first thing you'll notice is the Corinova leather seats, which are dyed the most perfect hue through a vegetable tanning process. Usually seats are made with chromium and other materials to treat the leather and dye it, but this is treated with chestnut oil extract on the tri-produced leather to produce more natural lines and personalize the hide.

Another way that the 102EX uses its EV-specific properties to enhance the luxury experience is by offering a new prototype system for induction charging developed by HaloIPT, a British-New Zealand company. Rolls-Royce says it's possible to charge the 102EX by simply driving over an induction charging pad on the floor via a receiver pad on the underside of the car. Never having to worry about remembering to plug in your EV? Why, that's even easier than sending Jeeves to fill the tank!

With a number of fancy electric cars from Tesla to Fisker to BMW--not direct competitors, but targeting perhaps a similar affluent demographic--Rolls has to adapt to continue to provide progressive electric drive trains with the standard impressive bells and whistles. Now, Bradley might want to fashion that Cockney a bit more often if it's going to secure him the keys.

More Information