Countries are slowly but steadily pulling the plug on ICEs and automakers around the world have already started charting a master plan to ready themselves for the bold shift. The UK has passed an ultimatum regarding the ban on the sale of ICE-powered cars. This has pushed automakers to speed up their electrification drive, even those whom we never expected to take the 'EV' route. Rolls-Royce has finally broken the silence regarding their first electric vehicle, and it will be called The Silent Shadow.
Top marks for the cool name and surely reciprocates with the iconic Silver Shadow that is credited for the distinctive body style that Royces are known for today. The confirmation of an all-new electric Rolls-Royce was from BMW's recent annual meeting in which CEO Oliver Zipse said that the company will over EVs in 90% of the segments including ultra-luxury brands. And Rolls-Royce is BMW's ultra-luxury brand.
Naming the new EV - Silent Shadow also confirmed it is a new luxury horse in the stable and won't be replacing any existing models. Very little is known about the Silent Shadow as of now, but it is expected to share powertrain bits from BMW and design cues from the 2017 Rolls-Royce 103EX electric concept.
Rolls-Royce Silent Shadow will be the first-ever EV from the opulent British marque and a bold new chapter in electrified ultra-luxury.
Rolls-Royce Was Already Thinking Of EVs in 2011 With The 102EX
It might look like Rolls-Royce is least interested in electrification, as they haven't even bought out a hybrid model yet. But the truth is, they have been exploring making EVs ever since 2011 with the Rolls-Royce 102EX Concept. This was basically an electrification project based on the last-gen Phantom. This was basically a make-shift version of the gasoline-powered model with the V12 swapped for a Li-Ion battery pack upfront and two electric motors mounted on the rear axle.
The silent Phantom churned out 290 horses and could do 0-60 MPH in under 8 seconds with a limited top speed of 160 MPH. But the let-down here was its driving range, which was lethargic at just 125 miles. The Electric Phantom also embarked on a world tour but failed to garner interest.
Then Came The Radical Rolls-Royce 103EX EV Concept
But the next attempt was much more calculated and futuristic! The 2016 Rolls-Royce 103EX (also called the Vision Next 100) was a radical new concept that emphasized the design and autonomous potential for a Rolls-Royce. This was the British automaker reminding us that electric vehicles can be dialed up to Rolls-Royce caliber.
The concept was showcased as a coupe and in a design language that is alien to the automaker till now. The design was the main focus here along with autonomous technology which has been slated as the future of transportation. Rolls-Royce managed to fuse the age-old lux-appeal with wood, leather, and other fine materials on the inside with futuristic design appeal.
Rolls-Royce Silent Shadow Will Most-Likely Be A BMW Underneath
While technical details are still a long time off, the all-electric Rolls-Royce will most likely share the platform and powertrain layout from the upcoming wave of electrified Bimmers. Rolls is building the Silent Shadow on its exclusive aluminum "Architecture of Luxury" platform; there are a lot of shared bits with BMW in terms of EV technology. The upcoming BMW iX gives an idea of what to expect in the Silent Shadow.
The Bimmer is built on an aluminum space-frame platform and is capable of packing in batteries of capacities up to 120 kWh. This tech is also being used for the upcoming BMW i4 and i7 EV sedans. So, all of this indicates of the electric Rolls-Royce having a battery pack of over 100 kWh that would give it a wholesome range of 300 miles (double that of what they achieved with the 102EX).
Silent Shadow Exterior Will Be Inspired From The 103EX
As Rolls-Royce wants their electric vehicle to be the start of something new and glorious, it will surely flaunt distinctive styling bits, unlike any other Rolls. The 103EX concept is the perfect representation of the bold new lineage that they want to embark on. It is futuristic and has a lot of sporty cues, but at the same time manages to retain the iconic silhouette that gives Rolls its extravagant aura on the roads.
As the concept was previewed as a coupe, the Silent Shadow will also break cover as either a coupe or a sedan. Another strong reason to believe in a coupe/ sedan future is the fact that 'Silent Shadow' sounds like the modern spiritual successor of the iconic 'Silver Shadow'. So, they would want to sync in most of the aspects, especially design-wise.
Rolls-Royce Silent Shadow Is The Silent New Chapter Of Opulence
Even with the torquey V12s upfront, a modern-day Rolls-Royce was seldom heard, both from the outside and inside. So, frankly, electrification would turn out to be just an examination that Rolls Royce has been acing for all these years ( at least from the characteristic front!). Autonomy would also play a very crucial role in the new wave of electrified Rolls-Royces.
But this and how the interior would evolve to remain a mystery that we have to wait for. But one thing is sure - Luxury would be oozing out of the Silent Shadow and this would be an interesting marriage of cutting-edge technology and hand-crafted luxury appeal.
Sources: Press.rolls-roycemotorcars.com, Motorauthority.com, Motortrend.com, Motor1.com