Luxury cars

Rolls-Royce will offer an electric vehicle 'when the time is right'

The luxury automaker's CEO says Rolls-Royce won't offer plug-in hybrids, instead focusing on full electrification.

Rolls-Royce Phantom

The Rolls-Royce Phantom's "Architecture of Luxury" platform was engineered to handle an eventual electric powertrain.

James Lipman/Rolls-Royce

Super-ulta-luxury automaker Rolls-Royce has long said it plans to offer an electric vehicle. But while other companies are seemingly rushing to offer this sort of technology as soon as possible, Rolls-Royce says its EV will launch "when the time is right."

That's the word from company CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös, speaking to members of the media in Pebble Beach, California, last weekend. "We are on it," he said. "Rest assured."

Rolls-Royce is taking an all-or-nothing approach to electrification, too. Rather than adopting plug-in hybrid powertrains, the company will only go fully electric.

"We need to make smart decisions on where we invest our money," Müller-Ötvös said. "It may be OK for bigger companies to go into hybrids and all sorts of different technologies, [but] we needed to make a certain decision." Plus, he notes that "legislation will change, particularly in city centers," that will favor EVs.

Müller-Ötvös said Rolls-Royce's customers aren't interested in plug-in hybrids. Rather, they want the full EV experience. "Clients -- particularly younger ones -- are far more open for electric drives," he said.

Rolls-Royce's first EV won't likely be an existing version of a current model, either, though Müller-Ötvös said the "Architecture of Luxury" platform that underpins the new Cullinan and Phantom is set up to handle an electric powertrain.

But when, exactly, will we see Rolls-Royce's first EV? Müller-Ötvös has a simple answer for that one: "I'm not telling you."

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