It probably won't look anything the company's wild 103EX concept.
If there's an automaker anywhere in the world that does smooth, quiet, comfortable luxury as well as Britain's Rolls-Royce, we've never heard of them. And while every past production Rolls-Royce model has generated its ample get-up-and-go with internal combustion, electric motors, with their buttery-smooth, essentially silent operation, could present an opportunity for even further refinement over current offerings like the Rolls-Royce Ghost.
It's little wonder, then, that Rolls-Royce is looking at electric propulsion with a keen eye, although speaking with Automotive News Europe recently, CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos specified a rather large window for the first Rolls-Royce EV's arrival: sometime this decade.
To be clear, Rolls-Royce's interest in electric propulsion goes back at least several years; back in 2017, Muller-Otvos called electrification "the way forward," with certain key markets like China driving much of the interest. Previously, the company had been waiting in the wings until such a time that battery technology was sufficiently advanced to enable a 300-mile range, even with several tons of Rolls-Royce to push around.
That time has arrived, but now, the luxury car marque is forced to consider the total demand for a Rolls-Royce EV across all markets. The company is reportedly concerned that asking its customers to periodically plug in and recharge the battery might be something of a faux pas, presenting something of a hurdle to adoption.
But as dozens of high-population cities across Europe prepare outright bans on fossil fuel-burning in their city centers, Rolls-Royce customers may soon find they have no choice.
Despite the rather wide window for its arrival, the first pure-electric Rolls-Royce is reportedly already in development, underpinned by Rolls-Royce's current car architecture. It's conceivable it could even replace either the Rolls-Royce Wraith coupe and its convertible twin, the Rolls-Royce Dawn.
But just as important as what Rolls-Royce is developing is what it isn't: a hybrid. The luxury car marque believes hybrids to be too much of a compromise, technically speaking, and if there's one thing Rolls-Royce won't stand for, it's a compromise. Plus, once again, there are concerns regarding how warmly it might be received by the company's usual customer base.
When you reach Rolls-Royce levels of success selling $400,000 niche luxury machines, the last thing you want to do is rock the boat.