Rolls-Royce: Plug-in hybrid?

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Imagine this car, with an electrical cord. It could happen, and fairly soon.

Although fuel efficiency is just about the last thing that a Rolls Royce brings to mind, but the company may change that with a plug-in hybrid, of all things.

The good chaps in Goodwood know they face a challenge in meeting rising fuel efficiency standards and tightening emissions, so they’re experimenting with various ways of squeezing more miles from every drop of petrol.

PLUG-IN: Can you imagine the Rolls Royce Phantom drophead with a cable?

PLUG-IN: Can you imagine the Rolls Royce Phantom drophead with a cable?

Company CEO Torston Müller-Otvos has said that making a hybrid is essential, not due to customer demand perhaps, but through legal regulation on emissions.

Rolls hasn’t mentioned any specifics for such a car, which is clearly an idea at this point, but it a good guess-timate suggests we might see it within three years.

But if a Phantom plug-in came to pass, it almost certainly would use drivetrain components from corporate parent BMW, which has a range of hybrids, the i3 and i8 electric vehicles, and a plug-in setup (featuring a four-cylinder turbocharged engine paired with an electric motor) for the X5 eDrive.

For those of you who are thinking that Rolls is suddenly going soft, remember that even the LeFerrari has a gas-electric drivetrain, so it’s not like a Phantom with a cord with be a glorified Prius.

This wouldn’t be be the first time Rolls has played with electricity. A few years ago, it unveiled the all-electric Phantom prototype called the 102EX. The absolutely stunning car was a trial balloon that customers promptly shot down.

Despite producing more torque than the standard Phantom’s V12, the car’s range, claimed at 120 miles, was just too small for consumers to consider. Many also found the technology incongruous with the marque’s identity, which is a definitive monument to luxury, power, and disposable income.

Now, however Rolls say that  plug-in hybrid Rolls-Royce would not come with any kind of compromise, and both the recharging times and the range will be top of the agenda. They also say that with the developments in hybrid technology, the issues faced earlier will no longer be a problem.

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