Development of the Rolls-Royce Spectre, the marque’s first electric vehicle, has reached a major milestone with the conclusion of the first winter test, which took place in northern Sweden, where temperatures this time of year reach as low as -15 degrees F.
The car is a large, luxurious coupe that Rolls-Royce bills as a successor to the Phantom Coupe, though judging by the prototypes it more closely resembles the Wraith coupe which is also no longer available.
There’s still plenty of testing scheduled for the Spectre ahead of the market launch in the fourth quarter of 2023. Engineers will put various prototypes through a combined test drive of more than 1.2 million miles between now and then. This is in addition to simulated testing which is meant to represent 400 years of regular use.
The Spectre is based on Rolls-Royce’s own aluminum space-frame platform that debuted in the current Phantom and has been modified to fit an electric powertrain. A key mod is the installation of a battery in the vehicle floor, which alone weighs more than 1,500 pounds. No range estimate has been given but you can count on it being among the highest in the industry.
Aiding the car’s range is a slippery shape. Rolls-Royce said the current prototype has a low—for a Rolls-Royce—drag coefficient of 0.26 Cd. The lowest Cd of any car in production is the 0.20 of the Mercedes-Benz EQS. To improve the aerodynamics of the Spectre, Rolls-Royce even redesigned the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament.
The electric powertrain of the Spectre also enabled the engineers to move some structural elements of the space-frame platform. For instance, without a big V-12 engine up front, the firewall could be moved forward and as a result the dashboard could be lowered, which should result in a more airy feel in the cabin.
On the outside, the Spectre features a fastback shape that, as mentioned above, resembles the design of the Wraith. There will also be a return to split headlights, with a daytime running light expected to feature at the leading edge of the hood, and the main light cluster situated below this. Rolls-Royce has also confirmed that the Spectre will ride on 23-inch wheels, which will be the first time since 1926 that a Rolls-Royce will have wheels this big.
Following the launch of the Spectre, Rolls-Royce is expected to then launch electric versions of its Phantom, Ghost and Cullinan as each vehicle is redesigned. If all goes to plan, the full lineup will be electric by the time 2030 rolls around.