Rolls-Royce Phantom 102EX, experimental electric prototype, New York City, November 2011Enlarge Photo
Potential Rolls-Royce customers know what they like, and know what they don't.
Let's face it, they wouldn't be in the market for a Rolls-Royce if they'd not made plenty of "I like it" and "I don't like it" decisions in their lives.
So when customers tell Rolls-Royce that the charging time and the range of its 102EX concept--the electric Phantom--aren't acceptable, you either make them acceptable, or you stop and do something else.
Rolls-Royce has chosen the latter option it would seem, according to CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös. In an interview with Car and Driver, he said that while the 500 or so potential customers who drove the 102EX praised the silence and power, they were less keen on the range and charging times.
We were told as much when we got to drive the 102EX back in November, though that most sacred of Rolls-Royce qualities, utter silence, was certainly present.
So where does Rolls-Royce go from here?
Well, the company of course plans to continue building what many believe to be the finest motor cars in the world, but as far as alternative powertrains go, there's now a gray area.
Müller-Ötvös suggests that there may be an alternative powertrain in the long run, potentially a plug-in hybrid, as it combines "the advantages of both worlds".
The bottom line is that Rolls-Royce customers are uncompromizing types--and until a powertrain comes along that offers nothing less than an all-round improvement over the current V12 engines, they won't be interested...