Electric Luxury: PSFK Test Drives The Rolls Royce Phantom EX

Electric Luxury: PSFK Test Drives The Rolls Royce Phantom EX

A new luxury concept car includes refined design details.

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 14 november 2011

Last week we had a moment of fun by testing out an electric concept car from Rolls Royce. New York is the last stop on the long tour that the car has taken: The British-based maker of hand-built luxury vehicles has been showing the 102EX to media and customers around the world to gauge interest in an upscale alternative power vehicle.

The Phantom’s regular 6.75-litre V12 gas engine and 6-speed gearbox have been replaced on this model by a lithium ion battery pack and two electric motors mounted on the rear sub-frame. These motors are connected to a single speed transmission with integrated differential. The twin motors give the electric Phantom a maximum power output of 290kW and torque of 800Nm available over a wide band. In comparison the standard Phantom has 338kW with maximum torque of 720Nm.

As we aren’t quite accustomed to driving Rolls Royces we can’t tell you how this handled versus its V12 cousin but the ride was like pushing a cloud around the streets of New York. The acceleration was generous and the brakes recharged the battery without any noticeable impact on performance.

Inside the car, the design team has been exploring the use of different materials. The leather has been treated and stained without chemicals and is colored with chestnut oil. Instead of using wood, the manufacturers added glass weave to the panels. Ian Cameron who is Chief Designer at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars says:

It’s a credible design concept that perfectly complements the experimental nature of the car, exploring options in light, space and use of materials. Had we changed the overall aesthetic, the concept would have lost credibility; our audience would assume it was simply a styling exercise. The reality is that this is an experimental vehicle in its truest sense, challenging perceptions, emotions and values — as well as exploring alternative drive-train technology.

A Rolls Royce PR person told us that there was mixed reaction to a car that can go for 120 miles on a single charge. Some owners bought a Rolls Royce because there were no compromises, others weren’t very effected by gas price fluctuations (as you can imagine). But some customers did show an interest and told the car company that even though they may own a car that could have a price of up to $450,000 — they still wanted to be responsible in the same way that they make responsible choice about the environment at home: like recycling and eating organic.

Click through the thumbnails below to see all the images from our drive:

[Images by Newscast]


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