Rolls-Royce has completed winter testing of its first electric model, the Spectre, in the Arctic Circle in temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees, about a quarter of the 2.5 million test kilometres planned for the battery-electric car. There are also rumours about the BEV’s drive system.
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The winter testing took place in and around the BMW Group’s test centre in Arjeplog, Sweden, 55 kilometres from the Arctic Circle. BMW has also been testing the i7, iX5 Hydrogen and the next generation electric Mini there this winter season.
The more than 600,000 test kilometres were covered in temperatures as low as -26 degrees Celsius. The vehicles were additionally cooled to 40 degrees below zero in climate chambers to further test the battery management and durability of the systems.
As is customary for the luxury brand, officials stress in the release that these were components developed specifically for Rolls-Royce. “Our task is to teach each component and system how to think, behave and communicate like a Rolls-Royce, which sees much of the engineering pivot from workshops into the digital space,” says Mihiar Ayoubi, Director of Engineering, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, for example. “Here in Arjeplog we have built a significant foundation on which we will create a true Rolls-Royce.”
Rolls-Royce CEO Thorsten Müller-Ötvös calls the Spectre “the most anticipated product in the brand’s modern history”. “This is because it is much more than a product. It is a symbol for our bright, bold electric future, and it represents a seismic shift in our powertrain technology,” he said. The Spectre is scheduled for delivery from the fourth quarter of 2023.
Given the timeframe until its market debut, the BMW brand is not yet giving any technical details of the powertrain. However, Motor1 journalist Basem Wasef was on site at the test drives in Arjeplog. According to his report, the Spectre will have four electric motors, one for each wheel. This is to support the all-wheel steering in order to improve the cornering behaviour of the electric coupé. Previously, Autocar had reported the thesis that Rolls-Royce could adopt the 455 kW electric drive of the BMW iX M60. However, the iX only has two motors. However, the current report does not contain any information on the size and technology of the battery.
Update 29 July 2022
After completing winter testing in northern Sweden, Rolls-Royce has moved testing to a region that “reflects the daily use of the Spectre”: the French Riviera. In the Côte d’Azur region of southern France, the test drivers and engineers will cover 625,000 kilometres, according to the announcement, with 2.5 million kilometres planned over the entire test programme.
The tests in southern France will take place in two phases. On the former race track and current test site Autodrome de Miramas, numerous durability and system tests will be carried out on the more than 60 kilometres of closed tracks – Miramar has sprinkler systems, tracks with tight curves or high-speed tracks.
In the second phase, the prototypes will be on the country roads around the Autodrome de Miramas. According to Rolls-Royce, the area was deliberately chosen because “this region is appreciated by many of the brand’s customers”. The chassis and drive system will therefore be adapted to these conditions in order to offer customers on the Côte d’Azur the typical “magic carpet ride”.
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