Some cars are perfectly suited to electric propulsion systems. The roofless new Smart forspeed and the Tesla Roadster are two such -- but a Rolls-Royce Phantom? Surely nobody would be crazy enough to chuck heavy batteries and an electric motor into a car that already weighs as much as a nuclear submarine?
Rolls-Royce obviously isn't reading from the same automotive hymn sheet as everyone else. It's ripped the pages out, scrawled its own eco-friendly tune and is preparing to unveil an electric Phantom prototype known as the 102EX.
Still in the early stages of development, the Rolls-Royce Phantom 102EX will go on display at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show in March, where Rolls-Royce intends to gauge whether an electric luxury car makes sense to the pipe-smoking, chauffeur-using masses.
We know very little about the car at this stage, but we're told it'll deliver luxury and driving giggles in line with the standard Phantom.
Umlaut champion Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said, "I must be convinced that any alternative drivetrain we choose for the future delivers an authentic Rolls-Royce experience. It must be a technology that is right for our customers, our brand and which sets us on a sound footing for a sustainable future."
Ensuring the 102EX meets petrol Phantom-level expectations is a heck of a challenge. The standard car weighs 2,550kg, yet its 6.7-litre, 453bhp V12 engine is powerful enough to hurl it from a standstill to 60mph in 5.7 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 150mph. To reach those sorts of numbers, the 102EX will require more batteries than every branch of Dixons combined and an electric motor with enough power to reverse the rotation of the Earth.
A car with that sort of spec will undoubtedly cost a pretty penny, but Rolls-Royce isn't averse to sticking whopping price tags on its cars, so we're fully confident the 102EX will deliver the goods.
We'll be on hand to inspect the 102EX in person from the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. In the meantime, head over to Rolls-Royce's Electric Luxury teaser website and watch the video below to see what RR's cookin'.