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Rossfeldt: Rolls-Royce and Bentley / From the Dawn of the 20th Century into the new Millennium

 

 

 

Car of the Month - March 2022
Rolls-Royce  102 EX, 2011, #SCA1S68426UX08123
electric powered Prototype


 

Rolls-Royce 102 EX

With embargo 20th February 2011, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars at Goodwood had issued 'media information' their choice for the debut of an 'Electric Test Vehicle' would be the Geneva Motor Show in March 2011. The battery-powered electric car should afterwards be used in 'continuous operation' test drives to collect data. In addition, major conclusions were expected as to how the regular clientele and possible new customers would position themselves as regards this alternative to the combustion engine in cars from the 'ultra luxury segment'.

Rolls-Royce 102EX

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars however had not developed a completely new model in any respect. Rather, it had been decided not to discontinue the appearance of the Rolls-Royce Phantom (that would later be listed as the Phantom VII), which had been introduced to the market about one decade earlier. This applied to both the exterior appearance and interior design, too. Only a close look revealed that the flap in the C-pillar, behind which the petrol filler neck of the petrol-driven Rolls-Royce Phantom was located, had become slightly modified to serve as a cover for the power socket. The socket could be used to dock cables at charging stations. Remarkably modifications of interior were limited to appropriate instrumentation; that ensured any driver was provided with vital information regarding charge status and remaining range. The change from black to red inlaid RR emblems on the radiator and a mascot made of in frosted glass-style plastic were merely more than simply gimmicks. 

Rolls-Royce102EX

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After having been unveiled at the motor show in Switzerland, the prototype, listed in-house as 'EE', which de-coded to Phantom Experimental Electric, went on a tour around the globe to be seen in all of the brand's key markets to 'show the flag' for the consistent use of an innovative drive system. The aim was to fulfil all the requirements associated with the brand. Sufficient capacity for long distances between charging processes and the ability to withstand critical questions regarding sustainability were ranking high as important requirements in this project's basic specifications. 

Rolls-Royce102EX

With regard to exact technical specifications, however, only limited information could be obtained. Such might have been dictated by the management's decision that certainly no series-production was envisaged at that stage. The technical layout perhaps would have been obvious even for laymen - a severe barrier. The batteries installed in the front of the vehicle did not seem very ambitious in terms of their dimensions; they were simply too small in size. In addition, to position such in a lower position, e.g. in or under the vehicle's floor, would have shifted the centre of gravity to an area that would have offered more favourable handling and roadholding. All in all, the '102 EX' was but a first step towards electric mobility which the manufacturer had to comply with; so it was considered by some it was pushed by increasing political pressure more than by existing demand in the market.

Rolls-Royce102EX