Rolls-Royce is testing its first all-electric car... on the French Riviera
R-R says it’s the most aerodynamic Roller yet at 0.25Cd (handy for range, of course, but also wind noise) and that by integrating the battery pack into the Spectre’s all-aluminium structure, it’s also the stiffest by a margin of some 30 per cent. And the stiffer the car, the softer the suspension can be while still controlling its mass. Which should be plentiful, given it’s a Rolls-Royce toting a full-size battery pack.
As for suspension, you’ll be unsurprised to learn that Rolls is going all-in on a new computer-controlled active setup, which can decouple front and rear anti-roll bars on the fly for a rough patch... then immediately reconnect, stiffen everything up and engage four-wheel-steering in the corners. And that’s just one of an adequate list of features that’ll need to be perfected before the Spectre makes its debut next year.
Hence the testing program. According to Rolls, it’s about 40 per cent through a 2,500,000km shakedown ahead of the Spectre’s launch in late 2023, which means the drivers have been at the wheel for about as long as Spectre felt in the cinema. And that’s some dedicated seat time.
The 1,550,000-mile sojourn kicked off in March this year at the petrolhead playground of Arjeplog, just outside Sweden’s slice of the Arctic Circle. Now it’s time for the French Riviera, stop number two in the best ‘No, this is work, honest’ jolly we’ve ever encountered.
All in, the prototype Spectres will put in some 625,000km (388,000 miles or so) along the roads of the Côte d’Azur and the Autodrome de Miramas, which is pretty much what Millbrook Proving Ground would be like if you put it in the south of France. Paradise, basically.
And in case you’ve not been keeping tabs, we might be ever so slightly rueing the life choices that didn’t land us in the driver’s seat of what might be the ultimate electric GT, in the south of France, in summer. And yes, it’s safe to say we want one.
TEXT Craig Jamieson