Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös says that the company will likely do electrics, but will not do hybrid cars as they head down that road.
Unlike most automakers, where consumer demand helps drive the move to hybrids and alternative fuels, Rolls says that it is driven solely by regulations. After all, when your cars start north of $300,000, what's a litre or two per 100 km? But as various levels of city and state government move to ban internal combustion engines, going electric becomes important. Even to plutocrats.
Müller-Ötvös told Car and Driver that "we might well see, in the next decade, some Asian markets closing down city centres to combustion engines completely. And then, of course, [electrification] is a must."
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Rolls-Royce buyers aren't banging down dealership doors looking for EVs, Müller-Ötvös said. "I haven’t seen a single cheque arriving on my desk saying, ‘Build me one’," but he expects that to change in the next 10 years as regulations demand change.
When electric Rolls arrive, they won't be hybrids. "We go full electric, we don’t do any interim steps, that is our strategy," Müller-Ötvös said. He added that the company's latest platform was designed with electrification in mind. And that the Phantom sedan is likely to receive an EV option during its lifetime.
Rolls is conservative on autonomy as well. Müller-Ötvös said that the company is not planning to offer parent company BMW's enhanced cruise control systems. Their plan is to wait until full autonomy is available and tested. After all, isn't a chauffeur already the ultimate Level 5 autonomous car?