By on February 1, 2022

Müller-Ötvös and Rolls-Royce Phantom

With the upper classes enjoying one of the largest wealth gaps in modern history, Rolls-Royce had a phenomenal sales year in 2021. Volume surpassed every other annum in its 117-year history, which might encourage one to assume that the business would be interested in maintaining the status quo. But that’s not to be the case, with CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös having confirmed that Rolls-Royce is fully committed to abandoning internal combustion.

The automaker has said that its first series-production electric vehicle will arrive in 2023. However, it would like to have every gasoline-driven model in its lineup replaced by EVs by 2030 and the relevant strategies are already being put into action. From here onward, Rolls-Royce won’t be introducing any new combustion-reliant models. 

Having spoken with Rolls’ CEO this week, Autocar was able to verify that the second-generation Ghost was the last of its kind. The company is shifting exclusively to EVs and has no intention of second-guessing itself. Müller-Ötvös stated that the ultra-premium-luxury brand will be able to accomplish this monumental feat in under a decade thanks to help from the rest of BMW Group. But he added that Rolls will need to be careful to ensure profitability is retained during its grand transition.

“One thing is clear: we will never bring a car to market that isn’t as profitable as the combustion-engined cars. That’s my credo. I would like to drive contribution margins per car, because I’m in the business of making profit: That’s my task in the BMW Group, not making volume,” the CEO explained.

That’s smart-guy talk for saying that the cars will either cost more to buy or be cheaper to make. There’s even a solid chance it could mean both.

“We’re leveraging the BMW Group’s scale as we have done in the past: in a very intelligent way. We’re using components from the group which fit us, which make a Rolls-Royce truly a Rolls-Royce,” Müller-Ötvös continued. “We aren’t into rebadging existing bodies from mass-manufactured cars as Rolls-Royces, so we take components. We would be foolish not doing so.”

I’m probably being overly critical. But that sounds a lot like Maserati’s role within Fiat Chrysler (now Stellantis), so I am now banking on Rolls-Royce running with the cheaper-to-make strategy whether or not it jacks up the price. Lowering manufacturing costs has been one of the promised benefits of widespread electrification. However, we’ve yet to see it manifesting on any dealer invoices or window stickers.

Still, the executive explained that there were more factors at play than short-term profitability. Rolls-Royce is also considering government influence and hoping to solidify relationships with youthful customers that just happen to have access to financial resources the rest of us could only dream of.

From Autocar:

Müller-Ötvös highlighted the UK government’s planned 2030 ban on new ICE car sales as a particular incentive but said: “We aren’t only driven by legal: we’re also driven by our fairly young clientele worldwide, and we’re seeing more and more people asking actively for an electrified Rolls-Royce.”

The age of the average Rolls-Royce buyer has dropped sharply in recent years to just 43, and Müller-Ötvös notes that “quite a lot of our clients already own an electric car, be it a Tesla, a BMW or some other model”, and so have experience when it comes to operating EV chargers and range management.

He wouldn’t be drawn on the technical details of Rolls-Royce’s future EVs beyond confirming that “the entire portfolio will be electrified”. The Spectre’s 150 million-mile testing programme will no doubt inform the development of its future range-mates, accelerating the lead time of each EV based on Goodwood’s Architecture of Luxury.

Electrifying the entire portfolio, said Müller-Ötvös, is “a huge task for a relatively small company”, but the required investment won’t automatically translate into more expensive cars. “We never price ‘cost-driven’, we price ‘segment-driven’ and ‘substance-driven’,” explained Müller-Ötvös, emphasising that the Spectre – which will arrive in 2023, shortly after the similarly shaped Wraith bows out – will be priced according to its positioning rather than its powertrain.

It would be crazy for Rolls to price its vehicles anywhere near what they’re actually worth. The company’s very existence is predicated on rich people not having any idea of what a motor vehicle actually costs to manufacture.

But I’m not going to bash the company for transitioning into EVs because it actually makes a lot of sense. Rolls-Royce is known for building heavy, comfortable automobiles with whooshy powertrains and borderline silent cabins. That’s literally the luxury EV experience in a nutshell and there’s absolutely no way someone buying a Rolls-Royce will care one whit about range anxiety. Ranges are improving and the massive battery packs they’ll throw into these Anglo-German monsters should be sufficient for getting occupants to and from their private jets.

[Image: Rolls-Royce]

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44 Comments on “Rolls-Royce Vows to Become Electric Only by 2030...”


  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    EV Rolls Royce so the Davo’s Summit crowd can justify their helicopters, personal jets and billion dollar superyachts. Do they whine about a loss of freedom?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Rules are for the little people. The Davos crowd has all the freedom they want. The question is whether enough of them will buy electric RR’s to keep the company solvent.

      The desert oil sheiks will likely keep driving custom ICE cars. They’re not the type to hang around in a coffee shop while their car batteries are recharged.

      • 0 avatar
        spookiness

        Are you kidding? The truly wealthy don’t drive and park their own cars, and if they did hang out with low-lifes in a coffee shop, they’d certainly have someone charge the car for them, or it would have been charged before they left the mansion.

        • 0 avatar
          zerofoo

          It’s not just the truly wealthy. My dentist, who does have a few bucks – but is far from oil sheik wealthy – doesn’t like electric cars because of the charging time.

          He told me – “gasoline is easy”. 5 minutes at a pump and you can go hundreds of miles.

          This is from a guy that can buy damn near anything he wants.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            With an EV, every morning when you leave your garage, you can go hundreds of miles without having to waste time pulling into a gas station, freeze in the winter, and spend 5 minutes pumping in gas.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Well, at least this brand’s demographic can afford expensive electric cars, unlike 95% of the earth’s population.

  • avatar
    jmo2

    “ It would be crazy for Rolls to price its vehicles anywhere near what they’re actually worth.”

    The seem to be worth every penny they sell for in a free market. I was just watching the Throttle House guys on the Smoking Tire Podcast talk about the Ghost and Phantom. And they said you can drive a 7 Series or an S Class or a Maybach S Class and you get out and think no car can be better than that. Then you drive the Rolls and it’s at a whole different level.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Yeah, what other cars do you know that have logos on their wheels that stay upright, even as the wheels turn? Or have umbrellas in the doors?

      Troy, Faye, and Bisi on Motor Mythbusters were impressed by the Rolls they drove in the episode about which windows being rolled were the most effective at quickly expelling farts.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’d take a Ghost in a heartbeat. Absolutely magnificent car.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    I can’t believe that a Rolls buyer would do something as undignified as plug a cord into a dirty outlet in a garage!

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      They won’t. It’ll be like cars back in the early days…that manual will include a section titled “tasks.for your man to perform”. Plugging in the cable will be a job for the staff.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        I’ve seen a well-known A-list TV (and I think movies) actress changing diapers on their friend’s kid, so it does happen. Although some probably wouldn’t. Some I know kind of go back and forth on menial stuff. It’s like they sort of forget they’re really rich. Some of the actresses and models have done blue-collar jobs on the way up, so they do know how hard it is. You can tell. They treat waitstaff with huge respect. Now, the ones that didn’t work their way up and especially the ones that got money from daddy – that’s a whole other class. Even then, sometimes they’re decent. Others, are total scum.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Only dirty people work for a living. Only the most deserving get to live off inheritance.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      A lot less dirty than a gas pump.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      That’s what Jeeves is for.

  • avatar

    When I was young and wealthy Russian oligarch Rolls Royce was in my shopping list. But now that I am old, bald and broken I can only afFord Ford only.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Good news for me, because I definitely can’t afford to put fuel into a Rolls.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    EV’s make total sense in ultra luxury cars. They’re already expensive, fast, quiet, and heavy. Quiet dual electric motors, a huge battery pack with 500 miles like a LUCID and it’s good to go. Do people that own cars like this ever even do 1,000 mile road trips?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “like this ever even do 1,000-mile road trips?”

      I have Rolls Royce capable acquaintances from the super-rich to the ultra-rich. I know that crowd well. Some are famous, some aren’t. For the ultra-rich multimillionaires, It’s just enough distance to get to the helipad or plane. The car gets parked in the private hangar. At the lower end of the rich scale (just 10’s to 100’s of millions), they take a private livery service to the airport.

      Other advantages are not being spotted at gas stations and having to talk to people. Any kind of interesting car at a gas station and it’s tough to get in and out without someone asking questions.

      Lets get things a bit better into perspective. A Rolls is $355,000. A Koenigsegg Regera is $5,500,000. A Pagani Huayra is $1,600,000. A Lotus Evija is $2,300,300. A Rolls Royce isn’t that expensive compared to the other stuff out there.

      Like I’ve said in the past, I don’t think many people comprehend just how rich the super-rich are. I know two different non-famous women with enough money to hire major acts this fall for their birthday parties. One had enough to hire the Stones, the other had Dave Matthews play.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I hear Elon Musk wants to hire the Dead to play a party. Rumor has it he’s creating a Cylon Jerry Garcia for the gig. The Garcia skinjob is currently under development for a 2024 intro, but it may be pushed back.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          As long as he’s building me a Six as well I’m on board.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Six does tend to linger in one’s mind.

            (I’ve been re-binging BSG lately…frakkin’ amazing show.)

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Six can’t touch 7 of 9

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Art

            Yeah but she’s always going to try to assimilate me vs Six’s mind games and manipulation which I can handle.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “Six can’t touch 7 of 9”

            That’s the problem – practically NO ONE touched Seven. It wasn’t her thing. Apparently, though, she discovered a taste for the ladies over the years, per the last scene of “Picard”.

            If we’re talking Cylons, though, I’m going with an underrated pick: Ellen Tigh.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I know there are ultra-rich in other markets who like to stick out, but literally all of the ones I know (and I know a few professionally) don’t want to be conspicuous when they’re out in public. If they are car people they may own toy cars for Cars and Coffee and such, but their daily drivers are no different from those of the ordinary rich: mostly mainstream-luxury-brand SUVs these days, with the occasional E-Class or 540i thrown in for good measure. The single car I would bet on if I knew a billionaire was about to pull up would be a GLS550.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @dal20402: I see the same thing. I know a few of them. One has a Macan, another a Lexus LS, and another a Range Rover.

          One of the billionaires has plenty of charging at his workplace and he could easily add charging at his house. He’s very familiar with my experience with my EV. I could see him getting the electric Macan when that comes out (it’s been seen testing).

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    Is there anything that depreciates with greater speed and certainty than a Rolls? But it is the perfect vehicle for an EV drivetrain. Mass is a good thing in Rolls, a 4 ton car is perfectly acceptable, just smoothed out the road. They probably don’t go on long road trips so range anxiety and charging on the road is a non issue – you take the jet in that case.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “Is there anything that depreciates with greater speed and certainty than a Rolls?”

      I believe a lot of that has to do with the primary market for Rolls Royce’s being people buying one as a reward for achieving some great success. As such they are highly customized. The secondhand market requires a bigger discount to buy someone else’s sloppy seconds. They doesn’t represent any flaw in the vehicle.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I think an electric powertrain is a great fit for any large luxury car. In fact, I wish Cadillac and Lincoln would do something similar, versus electrifying crossovers.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    EV goals…ya love to see it….and so do shareholders.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Predictable and barely noteworthy.

    Additional: Watch in the future where the battery is made so uneconomical the cars are simply sent to the boneyard (or they become lease only). Why? Keep them out of the hands of the plebs after normal lifecycle.

  • avatar
    zipper69

    Since the descent of Rolls into oversized and ugly rolling mansions of excess this final step from the World of motoring seems appropriate.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    “Rolls-Royce is known for building heavy, comfortable automobiles with whooshy powertrains and borderline silent cabins. That’s literally the luxury EV experience in a nutshell.” Sorry but I thought that you were describing the D3 luxury cars of the late 1960s to late 1970’s. And MPG meant nothing to those in the market for these autos. In fact to a large degree the worse the MPG the greater the prestige of the auto

  • avatar
    Kyree

    If there’s anything that embodies the silent, effortless experience of an EV, it’s a Rolls-Royce.

    This does answer the question I posed a few weeks ago, when BMW announced the discontinuation of the M760i, which is what would happen to the V12 engine in general. Apparently, it’s out.

  • avatar
    285exp

    Rich people can afford to be green, poor people can’t.

  • avatar
    stuki

    “Rolls-Royce Vows to Become Electric Only by 2030”

    And to be fairydust only by 2764.

    And all that while looking like a parody of a monkey in a suit, busy hawking second rate Bimmers to saps who don’t know better.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “Second rate Bimmers”?

      Take a moment to educate yourself on why Rollers are so expensive:

      youtube.com/watch?v=NUzDLpSkQTg

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Go drive a few of them. At at anything above parade float speeds. Back to back with a 7-, or even 5-, series.

        Rollers are expensive because they are Rollers. Like Rolex’, just without any particularly fancy mechanicals. If BMW could make the 7 series better at being a big, fast, comfortable limo; by sticking a pickup truck grill and a body designed for maximum wind noise and roll at meaningful speeds on it; they would have done so.

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