Luxury Goes Green: Electric Rolls-Royce 102EX [Gallery]

For the first time since building its experimental electric-powered Phantom, Rolls Royce has relinquished the 102EX’s keys to someone from outside of the company.

  • Electric or not, the Rolls-Royce Phantom is a fabulously luxurious way to travel. Photo: Rolls-RoyceElectric or not, the Rolls-Royce Phantom is a fabulously luxurious way to travel. Photo: Rolls-Royce
  • Although the Rolls-Royce 102EX is furiously expensive, has limited range and takes eons to charge. But it is a glimpse of the future, the first serious exploration of how the super-luxe cars of tomorrow might be propelled. Photo: Rolls-RoyceAlthough the Rolls-Royce 102EX is furiously expensive, has limited range and takes eons to charge. But it is a glimpse of the future, the first serious exploration of how the super-luxe cars of tomorrow might be propelled. Photo: Rolls-Royce
  • There's no 'creep' built into the car's drivetrain, so it will roll on an incline if you release the pedals. Photo: Rolls-RoyceThere's no 'creep' built into the car's drivetrain, so it will roll on an incline if you release the pedals. Photo: Rolls-Royce
  • The electric Phantom isn't as refined as its petrol cousin, with a slight whirring audible if you accelerate hard. Photo: Rolls-RoyceThe electric Phantom isn't as refined as its petrol cousin, with a slight whirring audible if you accelerate hard. Photo: Rolls-Royce
  • The 102EX can be charged via an experimental induction wireless system in less than eight hours. Photo: Rolls-RoyceThe 102EX can be charged via an experimental induction wireless system in less than eight hours. Photo: Rolls-Royce
  • Without the petrol V12 and six-speed automatic transmission, but with the battery, motors and sound proofing, the electric Phantom's kerb weight is 440lb over that of the standard car. Photo: Rolls-RoyceWithout the petrol V12 and six-speed automatic transmission, but with the battery, motors and sound proofing, the electric Phantom's kerb weight is 440lb over that of the standard car. Photo: Rolls-Royce
  • The 102EX is not a production model, but Rolls-Royce claims that if it did build it the price would be more than double that of the £285,200 petrol model. Photo: Rolls-RoyceThe 102EX is not a production model, but Rolls-Royce claims that if it did build it the price would be more than double that of the £285,200 petrol model. Photo: Rolls-Royce
  • The electric Rolls-Royce accelerates from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds on the way to an electronically limited 100mph top speed. Photo: Rolls-RoyceThe electric Rolls-Royce accelerates from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds on the way to an electronically limited 100mph top speed. Photo: Rolls-Royce

Throughout its existence, Rolls-Royce has relied on the use of internal combustion engines in propelling their automobiles to the highest of heights in luxury motoring. The 107-year of building vehicles to the ultimate zenith of uncompromised luxury, Rolls-Royce’s history has gravitated to gasoline.

Even as modern trends seek a new definition of luxury through more compact sizes and alternative powertrains, British luxury badge Rolls-Royce was never seen on a provocative design study until the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Experimental concept car Rolls-Royce 102EX Phantom reveals what could be the most expensive electric car ever produced.

For the first time since building its experimental electric-powered Phantom, Rolls Royce has relinquished the 102EX’s keys to someone from outside of the company. Automobile Mag’s Ben Oliver was not only afforded the opportunity to pilot the 2.7 ton hand-built beast of luxurious bliss, he somehow managed to persuade them to let him drive it close to its declared 125-mile range around Lake Geneva.

Composing the form of the production-going Rolls-Royce Phantom sedan, the 102EX project car major notable difference is found through underneath the enormous 229.7 inch body. Gone from under the Rolls-Royce’s bonnet, the 6.7 liter V-12 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission is replaced with a more experimental propulsion.

The Rolls-Royce 102EX features an all-electric transplant consisting of two electric motors and a Lithium-Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese-Oxide battery. Rolls-Royce contacted British-based Lotus Engineering for the outfitting of this zero-emissions electric powertrain.

Foregoing the 453 horsepower which would be been on tap if the V-12 gasoline engine was retained, each electric motor produces 145 kilowatts of energy collecting in moving the converted Phantom EE with 389 horsepower. Projected charging time for the Rolls-Royce 102EX Electric’s lithium ion battery is estimated at 8 hours on a three-phase power supply.

Balancing the electrical power hardware in the engine compartment and behind the rear seat, Lotus Engineering maintained 50:50 weight distribution on the Rolls-Royce 102EX Phantom EE sedan promising some rather impressive performance. According to Lotus Engineering, 0 to 62 mile per hour acceleration is under 8 seconds inside Rolls-Royce’s 102EX concept car.

Behind strong but silent acceleration, this Rolls-Royce achieves an electronically-limited top speed of 160 kilometers per hour (just under 100 miles per hour). Slightly subdued compared to the production Phantom model, the Rolls-Royce 102EX concept’s powertrain achieves quiet, graceful movement befitting the product’s ‘Phantom’ name.

In classic Rolls-Royce manner, the electric-powered concept sedan continues to feature fine interior and exterior details few automobiles would dare to replicate. A painstakingly applied 16-coat paint scheme over the Phantom’s aluminum body blends a compound called Atlantic Chrome into the gentle blue exterior.

A ceramic nano particle said to be up to 80,000 times thinner than a hair, the 102EX Phantom EE is given a highly reflective shimmer. Special outer design attention was also directed at the electric recharging port. Located on the passenger side of the rear roof pillar, a 5-pin socket is accompanied by tri-coloured LED lighting behind a clear access door.

Inside, the Atlantic Chrome treatment is found within the dash dials, a battery charge indicator appropriately takes the place of the fuel gauge. Unique wood veneers and leather is chosen by Rolls-Royce for the Phantom EE suiting the more environment conscious theme. Using a upholstery called Corinova leather, vegetable-based tanning is brushed on the providing a colouring which is not only petroleum free but recyclable.

The company isn’t likely to base any production decisions in press reviews alone, preferring to wait on reactions from prospective and existing customers that it plans on having try out this little experiment over the next year. [via Wired and Automobile Mag]

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