Electrifying the Rolls-Royce Phantom - inside the plug-in Roller
By Mike Hanlon
March 1, 2011
Electrifying the Rolls-Royce was no simple matter. Luxury vehicle buyers in the EUR200,000 ++ segment know what they want – sumptuous comfort and effortless acceleration. Retaining Rolls Royce clientele is obviously paramount, so as the first pure electric car in the top-shelf segment, it's interesting to see what a brand with such stellar values has done. An aluminium space frame keeps weight down and the biggest automobile battery pack ever – 71 kWh – still only offers a range of 200 kilometers. Twin watercooled 145 kW electric motors offer a total 290 kW, which is less than the 338 kW Phantom 6.75-litre V12, but with even nicer power characteristics – a flat 800 Nm mid-range versus the peak 720Nm @3500 rpm of the V12. The range could be the limiting factor because everything else looks excellent.
Firstly, we need to mention the top speed. The Phantom EE has a limited top speed of 160 which we assume is to thwart those Roller enthusiasts who will be queuing up to drive it in the coming world tour. I am certain a higher top speed will be on offer when the car sees public showrooms.
The Phantom EE's 71 kWh lithium-ion battery uses Lithium-Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese-Oxide chemistry is the largest ever fitted to a road car. The pack of 96 NCM pouch cells is curiously arranged to mimic the mass of an internal combustion engine – presumably so that the mass, balance and feel of the vehicle is authentically retained in every way.
In terms of charging, Rolls Royce has given a nod to both its established clientele and the technophiles. The car will charge from a normal three-phase powerpoint in eight hours. For those who have a country property with single phase power, it will require 20 hours, and the EE is also capable of inductive (wireless) charging.