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Rolls-Royce Spectre gets redesigned Spirit of Ecstasy to usher in EV era

The Rolls-Royce Spectre is a big deal because it’s the brand’s first battery-electric vehicle. Due to go on sale late next year, the Spectre will be Rolls-Royce’s most aerodynamic vehicle, and to achieve that, it has redesigned the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament. This is one of the few times in 111 years that the iconic adornment has been revised since it was first as Rolls-Royce’s intellectual property in 1911.

The figurine that will grace the Rolls-Royce Spectre has been remodeled with a lower, more dynamic stance to bring it closer to the original drawings of its creator, Charles Sykes. Its new physical form now represents The Expression, a visual device forming part of Rolls-Royce’s latest visual language. The new Spirit of Ecstasy stands 3.2 inches tall, which is 0.7 inches shorter than its predecessor.

One of the most visible changes is the figurine’s stance because it is now braced with one leg forward, the body tucked low, and her gaze looking directly ahead. The previous ornament had her feet together, legs straight, and tilting at the waist. These changes aren’t merely to make the Spectre more stylish. This also improves aerodynamics with the earliest prototypes wearing the new Spirit of Ecstasy recording a drag coefficient of 0.26. That makes the Spectre the most aerodynamic Rolls-Royce vehicle ever made.

Rolls-Royce’s revised Spirit of Ecstasy captures the essence of the original drawings by Charles Sykes. The new shape was digitally sculpted via a computer modeler at the Home of Rolls-Royce. This allowed for a more elegant figurine with lifelike facial features and expressions. Designers also consulted stylists at Goodwood for insight on how to do the ornament’s hair, clothing, posture, and expression to add a more contemporary aura and presence. Like previous Spirit of Ecstasy ornaments, the new ones will be made using the oldest known casting techniques called “lost wax casting” or “cire-Perdue.” They’ll be individually finished by hand, meaning each one will be different, continuing a long-standing tradition.

The Spectre will be the first vehicle to use the new Spirit of Ecstasy. It will eventually find its way into the next iterations of the Phantom, Ghost, Wraith, Dawn, and Cullinan plus their Black Badge iterations. Due next year, the Spectre begins Rolls-Royce’s transition toward full electrification, which it aims to achieve by 2030. That’s the same year that the rest of the BMW Group brands will sell only electrified vehicles.

This is the culmination of Rolls-Royce’s foray into electrification. It has a long history of dabbling in that technology and eventually made its early prototype in 2011. That vehicle was the 102EX or the Phantom EE, which had a 71-kWh lithium-ion battery and two electric motors making 289 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque combined. However, that car was only capable of traveling up to 124 miles per charge. This was followed by the 103EX or the Vision Next 100 Concept in 2016, a 19.4-foot self-driving luxury EV that previewed the next evolution of Rolls-Royce’s design language.

Built on a brand-exclusive platform, the Rolls-Royce Spectre will likely arrive in a dual-motor configuration. Power output should land somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 to 700 hp. The battery, on the other hand, will likely be similar to the 111.5-kWh pack found on the BMW iX.

Written by Stefan Ogbac
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