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Rolls-Royce working on electric vehicles for regulatory reasons

Does the average Rolls-Royce customer, who is far from average, desire a plug-in or full-electric car? Will the storied brand adopt battery technology for future models? Yes, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

In an interview with Automotive News, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said that the company will have its first full electric “within this decade.”

He continued on to say that he and his company is working on fully-electric vehicles, and will spend no time on plug-in hybrids.

Does the Rolls-Royce customer demand a fully-electric car? Not at this point. But Müller-Ötvös said that electric power “fits perfectly” with the brand. “It’s silent and torquey and that is the reason to go directly from combustion to electrification,” he said.

Regulations though are not only going to force the customer’s hand, but the brand. Cities across Europe are already discussing banning gasoline-powered cars in city centers. Rolls-Royce doesn’t want to be in a position to not make a sale because a customer lives someplace where they can’t enjoy their vehicle.

A spokesperson for Rolls-Royce told Automotive News just as much. “There is no demand from customers but we need to be in a position to sell them a car if legislation forbids them from driving a combustion engine car into the center of a city,” the spokesman said.

Being able to lean on BMW for electric vehicle resources should help the company in developing a pure EV Rolls, since the company is already spending millions developing the technology for the company’s mainstream brands. Battery technology will also significantly advance in the next decade, not only making a full-electric Rolls-Royce possible without any sacrifices for its customers, but also a desirable powertrain option.

There are some long-term questions that do remain. Will Rolls-Royce switch to electricity only, leaving the V12-powered cars behind? Or will they do something that the brand typically doesn’t do, which is offer a choice of powertrains for the customer? We don’t know yet, but we suggest staying tuned.

Written by Chad Kirchner
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