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Rolls-Royce looks to the future

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Think Rolls-Royce and you think the golden age of motoring, the Spirit Of Ecstasy and Auric Goldfinger smuggling vast amounts of gold in a Phantom III. You don’t think traffic jams on the M6. And you certainly don’t think electric cars. But Rolls-Royce wants to change your mind.

It’s just unveiled the 102EX. And if that collection of digits and letters doesn’t fill you with excitement, it’s also going by the both classic and forward looking moniker the Phantom EE – standing for Experimental Electric.

The first high-end battery electric vehicle, Rolls-Royce intends to answer some pertinent questions with this fully functioning (note – not a concept) trial model. Can it deliver an acceptable range before recharging? Can it operate successfully in extreme conditions? And most pertinently, will its quality be consistent with over a century of luxury motoring?

The Phantom EE has had the standard 6.75-litre V12 petrol engine replaced with a lithium ion battery pack and two electric motors mounted on the rear sub-frame. Remarkably, considering its status as an electric car, Rolls-Royce is happy to make comparisons with its petrol-powered opposite number. Each motor is power rated to 145kW, giving a maximum power output of 290kW, while the petrol version manages 338kW. And while the standard Phantom goes from 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds, the electric version manages a respectably similar time, coming in at just under eight seconds.

And if all that wasn’t enough for you – the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament is made of a thermoplastic polymer called makrolon (rather than stainless steel) and is bathed in blue LED lights. Now that’s futuristic.

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