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Doing Ones Part The RollsRoyce Phantom Electric

first_imgAttention, Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf: Step aside (or be moved aside?). Now Rolls-Royce has an electric car, the one-off Phantom 102EX. The three-ton electric debuts at the Geneva Auto Show in a week. “We have engineered the world’s first battery electric vehicle for the ultra-luxury segment,” said CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös. Mass production is not imminent. Instead, the vehicle also known as the Phantom Experimental Electric “will serve to begin a dialogue with existing owners and stakeholders, posing as well as answering questions of its audience.” The car will be shown and driven through Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and North America. Until the auto show, details on the vehicle are limited other than that it’s an electric-drive vehicle based on the Rolls-Royce Phantom. This is the full-size Rolls-Royce, rather than the more compact, at 213 inches, Rolls-Royce Ghost (see review). One of the questions Rolls-Royce wants to answer in its dialog with current owners is what they consider to be an acceptable range. Most electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf are good for just under 100 miles, while the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt goes 25-40 miles before a small gasoline engine kicks in. One assumes that if you own a Rolls-Royce, it’s not the only vehicle in the carriage house. Given the multiplier effect of electricity – using electric power generated elsewhere compared to petrol burned in the car’s engine – the effective economy rating is 2-3 times that of using gasoline or diesel based on the cost of electricity generated vs. the cost of fuel. So the Phantom’s 14 mpg combined rating in the U.S. (11 mpg city, 18 mpg highway) with a gasoline engine might, with an electric powerplant of similar output, be on the order of 40 mpg. Rolls-Royce even set up its own website to the tell the story directly: The site, says Rolls-Royce, “is a portal to fuel [so to speak] a wider global debate seeking views on the question of electric luxury from media, VIPs and stakeholders.”last_img read more