When Rolls-Royce launched itsline in 2016, the company projected these cars would account for 10% to 15% of all sales globally. Fast forward to 2021 and nearly 30% of all new Rolls-Royces sold are Black Badge models and this momentum shows no sign of slowing down. Black Badge is an integral part of Rolls-Royce's future product strategy -- and that includes electric cars, too.
At an event in Miami, Florida this week, I sat down with the company's CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, to talk about the future of Black Badge and electrification. When asked if thewill have a Black Badge model, Müller-Ötvös enthusiastically responded, "Yes, definitely."
"Rest assured we will have Black Badge in all our electric models in the future," Müller-Ötvös said. However, he maintains that while Rolls-Royce is quick to expand its Black Badge offerings, it will continue to leave its flagshipalone. "We are not offering Black Badge Phantoms," he said. Given that car's ultra-exclusive nature, it makes total sense.
Black Badge cars are largely known for their somewhat sinister appearance, with blacked-out exterior elements on top of Rolls-Royce's nearly limitless personalization options. But Black Badge cars also offer a bit more behind-the-wheel verve, too, with added power, unique transmission programming, stiffer chassis settings and so on. How does that apply to the Spectre? Müller-Ötvös said he can't get into the specifics of that car just yet, but he assured me, "It will be a proper Black Badge product, that's for sure."
"We want to position electric [power] in a very emotional car," Müller-Ötvös said. "[The Spectre] is very much a driver's car."
To that end, this also partially explains why Rolls-Royce chose to go with a coupe for its first EV, rather than something with more mainstream appeal like a sedan or SUV. "That is, sorry to say, boring," Müller-Ötvös said, though of course the company's electric expansion will include additional body styles. And do note: The Spectre is not a replacement for the.
Rolls-Royce is part of the BMW Group, and Müller-Ötvös said his brand's plunge into electrification will be a lot easier thanks to the shared know-how of the larger corporate engineering teams. Still, Rolls-Royce's EVs will ride on the company's dedicated platform, and "we will make sure that the electric drivetrain is a Rolls-Royce electric drivetrain ... and that the car drives like a Rolls-Royce," Müller-Ötvös said.
Rolls-Royce's first EV will be the Spectre coupe, which is scheduled to go on sale in 2023. Expect the Black Badge version to follow soon thereafter.