Rolls-Royce to quit combustion engine development

Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös has given insights into the further electrification strategy of the British BMW subsidiary following the debut of the Spectre electric car. According to this, the successors to the current models will only be powered purely by battery-electric drives.

As Müller-Ötvös told the magazine Autocar, Rolls-Royce will follow the Spectre with fully electric successors to the SUV model Cullinan and the saloon models Ghost and Phantom in the coming years. The British company will renew its current range in the coming years, but will not launch any more combustion models.

By 2030, Rolls-Royce famously wants to be an all-electric brand. Since Rolls-Royce cars are usually highly customised by well-heeled customers anyway, model cycles are usually a bit longer for BMW’s luxury subsidiary – to reach the 2030 target, the move with all-electric successors is only logical.

The Cullinan is Rolls-Royce’s SUV. The Ghost is the slightly smaller saloon, the Phantom the larger model and flagship of the carmaker. The Wraith coupé and the Dawn convertible are not mentioned by Müller-Ötvös. Since the Spectre is also to be a coupé in the style of the Wraith, the debut EV can already be seen as a successor of sorts.

Müller-Ötvös emphasised in the interview that the UK’s ban on internal combustion cars from 2030 is not the only reason for the luxury brand’s EV plans. “We aren’t only driven by legal: we’re also driven by our fairly young clientele worldwide, and we’re seeing more and more people asking actively for an electrified Rolls-Royce,” the German manager said.

Under his leadership, the average age of Rolls-Royce customers has dropped to just 43. “Quite a lot of our clients already own an electric car, be it a Tesla, a BMW or some other model,” says Müller-Ötvös. Therefore, the customers have experience with charging and range management.

Müller-Ötvös did not want to give any exact details on the technical data and prices of the electric Rolls-Royces. While electric vehicles are smooth-running in principle, Rolls-Royce’s electric drive should be “very torquey” to match the driving characteristics of the big V12 engine. However, Rolls-Royce would not convert “existing bodies of production cars to Rolls-Royce”, but would use individual components. “We would be foolish not to do that,” says the Rolls-Royce boss.

Rolls-Royce would continue to set prices “segment-driven” rather than “cost-driven”. “One thing is clear: we will never bring a car to market that isn’t as profitable as the combustion-engined cars. That’s my credo,” Müller-Ötvös said. “I would like to drive contribution margins per car, because I’m in the business of making profit: that’s my task in the BMW Group, not making volume.”


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