You know electric cars are serious when even Rolls Royce is considering ditching fossil fuel for electrons. The maker of luxury cars renowned the world over for their opulence is seriously considering having an electric version of its luxo-bargo Phantom on the road as early as next year… just in time for the 2012 Olympics being held in its native London.
But will an electric Rolls work?
The answer is, probably. Right now, most electric cars are priced out of range for the average consumer, such as the Fisker Karma and Tesla Roadster. Mostly, this is the cost of the heavy batteries. But Rolls Royce already makes some of the heaviest cars around, so what is a few hundred extra pounds in battery weight?
Also, the average Rolls Royce does much less driving compared with most cars. Annually, the average mileage for a Rolls Royce Phantom used be about 2,000 miles a year, or about 5.5 miles per day. Even though that mileage has been increasing according to Rolls Royce, they still rack up just 6,000 miles annually, about half the average American car. So, in theory, it is still quite feasible that an electric Rolls might make more sense than most commuter cars. Plus, the extra cost is of little concern for someone who can even consider buying a Rolls.
On the flip side, Rolls Royces are produced in such small numbers that any impact they have on the impact of driving is pretty much negligible… but sometimes, it is the thought that counts.
Rolls Royce is currently owned by BMW, who also owns and produces MINI. Therefore in all likelihood the technology developed for the electric MINI-E might in some way shape or form find its way into the Rolls. Of course, there are still a few problems to smooth out with the MINI-E, but nothing insurmountable.