Rolls-Royce will start production of its first electric car next year. It only has two doors, but it’s longer than a full-size SUV. And among its numerous options, the Specter will be offered with stars on the doors.
The British ultra-luxury car brand has been offering a feature called ‘Starlight Headliner’ for years, filling the roof with a series of thousands of tiny lights. The lights, which are actually the ends of fiber optic cables, look random but are actually arranged to look like the night sky over Goodwood, UK, where the Rolls-Royce factory is located. With the Specter, Rolls-Royce is adding this feature inside the doors, which will have an additional 5,876 ‘stars’ so that occupants are fully surrounded by sparkling points of light.
Also, while it doesn’t need as much air as Rolls-Royce’s V12-powered cars, the Specter will have the widest grille ever seen on a Rolls-Royce model. Still, the Specter is the most aerodynamic Rolls-Royce yet, according to the company, which claims the car has a drag coefficient of 0.25. It’s stylish enough, but right in the realm of modern electric cars.
Even an electric Rolls-Royce could hardly do without the grille, as the tombstone-like metal slat slab is among the most iconic in the industry.
“Spectre is as important to us as the Silver Ghost could have been many, many years ago and is ushering in a new era for the all-electric brand by 2030,” said Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös. an interview with CNN Business. “So we want to make sure that this car is really perfect and that it’s a proper, perfect Rolls Royce.”
The Silver Ghost, which went into production in 1906, is considered the car that established Rolls-Royce’s reputation as the pinnacle of automotive quality.
The Specter shares its basic structure with Rolls-Royce’s petrol models: the Phantom and Ghost sedans and the Cullinan SUV. This follows the strategy of Rolls-Royce’s parent company BMW, which also relies on flexible engineering that can be used to build gasoline and electric cars.
In traditional Rolls-Royce style, the Specter’s two doors hinge back and open back. (On four-door Rolls-Royce models, only the rear doors open this way.) Because of its size and space, Roll-Royce calls the Specter a “super coupe.” It’s about six inches longer and five inches wider than Rolls-Royce’s latest coupe, the Wraith, which went out of production earlier this year. It’s also about 2.5 inches longer than a Cadillac Escalade SUV and slightly wider. The four-wheel steering should help the big car feel more agile in tight corners.
According to Rolls-Royce, the car’s overall conical shape was influenced by yachts, a similar theme to another recent Rolls-Royce that may be the most expensive car ever made. Last year, the brand launched a convertible called the Boat Tail, of which only three were built at an estimated price of $25 million each.
While many electric cars have extremely large touchscreens and rely on them for many internal controls, the Specter will rely more on physical controls, Müller-Ötvös said. There will be screens, but their use will be more discreet, he said.
The Specter’s total weight of 6,659 pounds – about 600 pounds more than a Cullinan SUV – includes over 1,500 pounds of soundproofing to ensure the Rolls-Royce’s optimal level of silence. Typically, automakers try to save weight when making electric cars to make up for all the mass that the batteries themselves add. But for Rolls-Royce, weight was never a big issue. Their cars are expected to be, literally, massive.
The 557-horsepower car will be able to go from zero to 60 miles per hour in about 4.4 seconds and will be able to travel around 260 miles before needing to recharge. That, insists Müller-Ötvös, will be enough.
“We will never compromise on the car experience or the car’s appearance just for the range,” he said.