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Rolls-Royce tries its hand at electric concept car

<b>Gallery:</b> Rolls-Royce also researching whether its customers will accept current electric power-train performance

Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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Rolls-Royce 102EX electric concept

At almost 6,000 pounds, it takes a 6.75-liter V-12 to move a typical Phantom model to Rolls-Royce's satisfaction. But could this big car be driven by an electric power train, without compromising the luxury or driving experience? The 102EX, or Phantom Experimental Electric, is a concept designed to answer that question.

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Rolls-Royce 102EX electric concept

To drive the heavy Phantom, Rolls-Royce fitted what it says is the largest battery pack ever installed in a passenger car. This pack uses 96 lithium ion pouches and drives two electric motors at the rear wheels. The total power of this system is 290 kilowatts.

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Rolls-Royce 102EX electric concept

A charging port sits on the left C pillar of the 102EX, suitable for a J1772 electric car charger. But Rolls-Royce also includes an inductive pad underneath the car, so it can be parked over a charging pad. Charging takes 8 hours, although Rolls-Royce does not specify what source achieves this time.

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Rolls-Royce 102EX electric concept

The badges on the car use red letters for the two Rs, as did the first Rolls-Royce models. Black letters are used in current production cars. The Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament is made of a translucent material, which glows blue from an internal lighting source.

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Rolls-Royce 102EX electric concept

Decked out in wood, leather, and metal, the cabin of the 102EX is as opulent as any Phantom model. The electric drive system should provide even smoother acceleration than the gasoline engine, contributing to the comfort of the passengers.

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Rolls-Royce 102EX electric concept

The controls and instrument panel are largely unchanged from a typical Phantom. The column shifter is the same, giving the driver the simple choices of R, N, and D. The 102EX accelerates to 60 mph in under 8 seconds, according to Rolls-Royce.

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Rolls-Royce 102EX electric concept

As in the production Phantom, the left gauge monitors the car's available power, but in the 102EX there is also a notable battery symbol. The former fuel gauge also shows the level of battery charge. The 102EX's range is 125 miles.

Back to 2011 Geneva auto show.

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