All-electric Rolls-Royce Spectre undergoes second testing phase
30th July 2022
Whilst Rolls-Royce has built a reputation for creating the pinnacle of super-luxury motor cars using internal combustion engines, the concept of electrification is long familiar to the brand. Henry Royce began his working life as an electrical engineer and dedicated much of his career to creating internal combustion engines that simulated the characteristics of an electric car – silent running, instant torque and the sensation of one endless gear.
Yet the connection with the marque’s founders is far deeper. When Charles Rolls drove a 1900 electric car named the Columbia, he made a prophecy: “The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean. There is no smell or vibration. They should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged.” Spectre is the fulfilment of this prophecy.
Spectre also represents a promise kept. In 2011, Rolls-Royce showcased a fully electric Experimental Phantom concept named 102EX. This was followed by 103EX, a dramatic design study that anticipated a bold electric future for the marque. These experimental cars prompted significant interest from Rolls-Royce clients, who felt that the characteristics of an electric powertrain would fit perfectly with the brand. Rolls-Royce Chief Executive Officer, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, responded to this with a clear promise: Rolls-Royce will go electric, starting this decade, and by 2030 Rolls-Royce will be a fully electric motor car brand.
In September 2021, Rolls-Royce confirmed that it had commenced testing of the first all-electric Rolls-Royce, Spectre. To ensure Spectre is first and foremost a Rolls-Royce, it will undergo the most demanding testing programme ever conceived by the marque, spanning 2.5 million kilometres, simulating on average more than 400 years of use for a Rolls-Royce. It is an extraordinary undertaking.
ROLLS-ROYCE SPECTRE: RIVIERA TESTING
Earlier this year, at a bespoke testing facility in Arjeplog, Sweden – just 55 kilometres from the Arctic Circle – Spectre received the first ‘lessons’ in a finishing school that is custom designed to teach the motor car how to behave and react like a Rolls-Royce. Over the past months, the marque’s test and development engineers have shifted their focus from extreme conditions to more formal scrutiny in a location that reflects the motor car’s everyday use: the French Riviera.
In evoking its spiritual successor, the Phantom Coupé, this Electric Super Coupé will be the first all-electric super-luxury motor car with continental touring central to its proposition. The French Riviera and its roads present a perfect combination of the types of conditions that will be demanded from Spectre’s clients, ranging from technical coastal corniches to faster inland carriageways.
Forming a crucial part of Spectre's 2.5 million kilometre global testing programme, a total of 625,000 kilometres will be driven on and around the French Côte d’Azur. This phase is split into two parts, beginning at the historic Autodrome de Miramas proving ground, located in the French department of Bouches-du-Rhône in Provence. Once a circuit that played host to the 1926 Grand Prix, the site is now a state-of-the-art test and development facility, incorporating more than 60 kilometres of closed routes and 20 test track environments that provide a vast number of testing opportunities over its 1,198 acre footprint.
These include irrigation units that create standing water, demanding handling circuits with tight corners and adverse cambers, as well as a heavily banked 3.1 mile three-lane high-speed bowl, enabling Spectre to be tested at continuous high speeds.
The second phase of testing in the region occurs in the Provençal countryside surrounding the Autodrome de Miramas. This region is enjoyed by many of the marque’s clients, therefore a significant 55% of testing here has taken place on the very roads that many production Spectres will be driven on following first customer deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2023. This provision for testing under local, real-life conditions is repeated in key markets around the world, as the marque goes to painstaking lengths to ensure that its products meet – and so often exceed – the expectations of its highly discerning customer group.