By on May 15, 2018

Müller-Ötvös and Rolls-Royce Phantom

Few automakers clutch tradition with the same vise-like grip as Rolls-Royce. The British motor car builder, which recently debuted a high-bodied car (known in plebian circles as an “SUV”), isn’t planning on following in its rivals’ electrified footsteps just yet.

Oh sure, there’ll be electric cars, even in the coming decade, but the brand’s attachment to 12-cylinder engines — and the upper-crust clout those motors carry — can’t be shaken just because Jaguar and Germany have their sights set on a green stable.

This attitude mirrors Porsche’s devotion to the steering wheel. That said, the brand does have a date in mind for the full electrification of its products.

Are you prepared for 2040? That’s when Rolls-Royce figures the last gasoline-fueled powerplant will disappear from its lineup. A pretty conservative estimate, but Rolls-Royce isn’t known for its enthusiastic adoption of the latest fad. Plus, the brand’s V12s aren’t exactly causing customers to turn up their noses.

Meanwhile, as Rolls-Royce plots a cautious course towards powertrain modernity, upstart British rival Lagonda plans to debut a futuristic electric touring car in 2021.

Speaking to the Financial Times, company CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said that, while electrification would provide a pleasant driving experience, the brand plans to hang on to internal combustion for dear life. He recognizes, however, that government emissions mandates and internal combustion bans will surely make it necessary one day. In that pursuit, France and the UK lead the charge.

Rolls Royce Cullinan

“Electrification actually fits extremely well with Rolls-Royce because it’s silent, it’s powerful, it’s torquey, so in that sense it’s a very good fit,” he said before adding, “We will definitely offer 12-cylinder engines as long as we can, as long as it is legally allowed to offer them.”

Currently, the company’s Phantom and Cullinan carries a 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V12, while the Ghost, Wraith, and Dawn make do with a twin-turbo 6.6-liter unit. Müller-Ötvös claims short driving distances — a hallmark of Rolls-Royce lifestyles — means the environment isn’t top of mind for company execs. However, those short distances makes battery power an easy alternative.

“These cars aren’t used extensively, nobody is driving long, long distances, and so the mileage on a Rolls-Royce is lower than the average car would carry,” he said. ”But electrification is the future, full stop. You need to prepare yourself for that.”

[Images: Rolls-Royce]

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19 Comments on “Rolls-Royce: We’ll Keep Slinging V12s Until the Government Comes and Takes Them Away...”

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Electric seems like the perfect fit for Rolls for the reasons stated, plus no one drives the things very far, and avoiding smelly gas stations full of peasants seems like the ultimate luxury.

  • avatar

    The V12 isn’t very traditional with RR actually. Downsizing to a V8 or even an inline six (plus hybrid stuff of course) could be sold as “back to the roots”. They might even source those traditional engines from Bentley. :-D

  • avatar

    Rolls gets it, it understands that customers simply don’t care about fuel economy. And for the few Faux wealthy customers that try so hard to pretend they are such – Audi will happily sell them 2.0 and 3.2L Hamster wheels to placate their fantasy world.

    • 0 avatar

      “customers simply don’t care about fuel economy.”

      Not just Rolls customers. There are millions of car/truck buyers in the US and elsewhere who don’t care about fuel economy or the price of fuel.

      It is a matter of prioritizing how to spend/allocate one’s money. After shelter, food, there’s the hierarchical need for fuel….


      • 0 avatar

        It’s because the average Joe is not doing 40,000 miles on the highway every year. In-town biased mixed conditions, like the majority of people drive narrow the gaps a lot.

  • avatar

    Slow clap for RR .. I hope they are the last company to use gasoline that exists on the planet.. and I agree w/comments here, nobody who can afford these cars new or slightly used gives a sh*t about fuel economy. Actually I can’t afford one but I don’t give a sh*t about fuel economy either. I suspect that feeling would only multiply if I were to become wealthy..

  • avatar

    “the Ghost, Wraith, and Dawn make do with a twin-turbo 6.6-liter unit”

    Ima need an “R/R-6.6” decal for the hood

  • avatar

    How about climate change? Europeans apparently do not care and want US to pay price.

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