There's no doubt about it -- Rolls-Royce is the pinnacle of luxury vehicles. The classic brand recently unveiled the world's first ultra-luxury battery-powered electric vehicle called the Rolls-Royce 102EX, and just yesterday we got to take the concept car for a test drive around Manhattan! Engineers put a green twist on the beloved Phantom model including the largest battery pack ever fitted to a car. The experimental electric vehicle has spent the past year on tour throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and now North America for press, owners, and VIPs to test drive. From the hand-crafted fine details to the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy emblem, each Rolls-Royce is a unique piece of art unlike any other, and the 102EX is no exception. We were lucky enough to take the one of kind vehicle out for a spin and enjoy its astonishing green features, from the inside out!
The Rolls-Royce 102EX is just as impressive and powerful as the classic Phantom with a few fun alterations. The V12 engine is replaced with a lithium ion battery pack and two electric motors connected to a single speed transmission. Each motor has 145kW of power, giving the 102EX 800Nm of torque, compared to the 720Nm of the Phantom. The massive battery also allows the car to seamlessly shoot from zero to 60 in under 8 seconds in practical silence.
From the champagne cooler to the personalized table-top TV screens, there is nothing more glamourous on wheels than the interior of a Rolls-Royce. Remarkably, the eco-friendly attitude of the 102EX encompasses even the upholstery details of the vehicle. The typical Phantom leather seats have been traded for vegetable-tanned leather, which is not only safer, locally sourced, and recyclable, but also creates less waste and eliminates use of harmful dyes. This particular approach creates an extraordinary chestnut colored leather, unique to each individual tanning process. The traditional wood interior trim and surfaces are also replaced with glossy off-white carbon fiber that contrasts perfectly with a textured look. Unlike its petrol counterpart, the rear floor of the 102EX is completely flat, and with the elimination of the petrol prop-shaft, there is even more leg room in the lounge-style back seat.
We drove the 102EX for about 30 minutes yesterday, testing its speed and prowess along the West Side Highway and receiving our fair share of gawking attention as we rolled smoothly down the busy city streets. The 6,000 pound vehicle transitioned seamlessly and silently along the hectic avenues of mid-morning Manhattan. We also alternated between both levels of regenerative braking the car has to offer, allowing for a chosen preference of deceleration when lifting off the gas.
The Rolls-Royce 102EX takes around 8 hours to fully charge. The plug-in features LED lights that shine blue when charging, green when it is ready, and red if there are any issues. For those who do not wish to leave the vehicle to plug-in (we don’t blame you!), it can also be charged by driving over an induction plate that will connect with recognize a device on the bottom of the car. The 102EX’s most unique feature is the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy made of clear makrolon instead of steel. Unlike any other figurine of its kind, it is illuminated with a blue LED light to represent the car’s electric status, distinguishing itself from the petrol models.
As of yet, there are no plans to build a production version of the Rolls-Royce 102EX. This one-off model will finish touring the world this year and retire to the Rolls-Royce Museum in Austria. Like many of their experimental models, the 102EX is an example of Rolls-Royce’s keen eye on the changing times and commitment to classic luxury that make it the best in the world.
images © Amanda Silvana Coen for Inhabitat