The Rolls-Royce Spectre has begun the second phase of its testing program in the French Riviera ahead of its launch in late 2023.
The luxury British brand’s first electric coupe previously competed extreme weather testing in Arjeplog, Sweden, with the testing program now set to cover up to 625,000 km on the French Côte d’Azur – tough life, isn’t it? – with specific focus now on the Spectre’s ride quality. First customer deliveries are now scheduled for the fourth quarter of next year.
The program will be split across two locations – one at the Autodrome de Miramas proving ground in Provence, the other in the circuit’s surrounding countryside – fine-tune the coupe’s all-electric architecture and the suspension geometry to ensure the Spectre adopts the brand’s idiosyncratic “magic carpet ride.” The system uses data retrieved from the vehicle’s SatNav and ‘Flagbearer’ – which ‘reads’ the conditions of the road surface ahead – to decouple the vehicle’s anti-roll bars, thus removing rocking on the straights by allowing each wheel to act independently, and/or activate “more than 18 sensors” overseeing the steering, braking, power delivery and suspension for added stability through the corners.
The Swedish side of the program, which primarily focused on electronics and drivetrain durability, saw around 40 per cent of the vehicle’s development work completed, which began in September last year with a view to eventually covering 2.5 million kilometres before production begins, or 400 years of use for an ‘average’ Rolls-Royce.
In that time, engineers have established that the brand-exclusive EV-dedicated, steel reinforced aluminium spaceframe forms the basis for the most rigid Rolls-Royce ever. Moreover, the drag co-efficient has officially dropped to 0.25 cd – down from an estimated 0.26 cd – during testing, thanks in-part to the newly aerodynamic Spirit of Esctasy.
Unsurprisingly, as Rolls-Royce’s first production electric model ahead of the luxury British marque’s transition to full-electrification by 2030, CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös states that development of the Spectre – also the “spiritual successor” to the hallowed Phantom – is necessarily one of the brand’s most ambitious to-date.
“It is no exaggeration to state that Spectre is the most anticipated Rolls-Royce ever,” Mr Müller-Ötvös explains. “Free from the restrictions connected to the internal combustion engine, our battery-electric vehicle will offer the purest expression of the Rolls-Royce experience in the marque’s 118-year history.
“This latest testing phase proves a suite of advanced technologies that underpin a symbolic shift for Rolls-Royce as it progresses towards a bright, bold, all-electric future. This will secure the ongoing relevance of our brand for generations to come.”
Alongside its CEO’s statement, Rolls-Royce also refers to the Spectre as “a promise kept.” The brand referencing founder Charles Royce’s experience of an electric car called the Columbia in 1911, as well as the debuts of the 102 EX and 103 EX concepts unveiled in 2011 and 2019 respectively. The electric powertrains of the latter in particular apparently received glowing praise from RR clients.