But will keep making V12 gasoline engines “as long as it is legally allowed to offer them.”
Better late than never, Rolls-Royce has finally jumped on the SUV bandwagon with the reveal of the ultra-luxurious Cullinan last week. But while Aston Martin is planning to launch a fleet of fully-electric luxury cars under its new Lagonda sub-brand in the next few years, including an SUV that will rival the Cullinan, Rolls-Royce hasn't shown much interest in entering the EV segment. However, in an interview with the Financial Times, CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos revealed he expects Rolls-Royce will only produce fully electric cars by 2040.
V12 gasoline engines are synomonous with Rolls-Royce cars such as the flagship Phantom, but the CEO told the publication the luxury automaker will be going "full electric" by 2040 to comply with changes in international regulations. The UK and France, for example, wants to ban cars that don't run on electric power by 2040 – and the Rolls-Royce boss believes other markets such as the US and the Middle East will do the same by then. "When you see what happens in Saudi, when you see what happens in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, they are all looking into alternative energy," he said. "Electrification will also happen in these countries, sooner or later."
It will be a long time before Rolls-Royce ditches the internal combustion engine, however. "We will definitely offer 12-cylinder engines as long as we can, as long as it is legally allowed to offer them." Rolls-Royce aims to introduce its first fully electric car within the next ten years, but will phase out its existing engines over the next few decades. The big push for electric vehicles stems from increasingly strict emissions regulations, particularly in Europe and China. Volvo, for example, recently announced it wants fully electric cars to make up half of its sales by 2025, while China wants to have a fifth of all new cars to be EVs by the same year.
For Rolls-Royce, the transition into electrification is driven by "legal requirements in the markets worldwide" rather than environmental concerns, according to Muller-Otvos. "These cars aren't used extensively, nobody is driving long, long distances, and so the mileage on a Rolls-Royce is lower than the average car would carry...But electrification is the future, full stop. You need to prepare yourself for that."