Rolls-Royce has provided an update on how the development of its first electric car, the Spectre, is progressing. And if I’m being honest, I’m getting a little jealous of the company’s test and development drivers.
First, the Specter ventured to Arjeplog, in the Swedish Arctic Circle, where manufacturers put new vehicles through severe cold-weather testing. Now that’s settled – and Rolls says the Specter’s testing program is about 40 percent complete – prototype cars are going to spend their summer in the south of France.
Here, on the picturesque French Riviera, they will cover nearly 400,000 miles of test drives, both on public roads and at a testing facility called the Autodrome de Miramas, which has nearly 40 miles of road and 20 test track environments (including a three-mile banked bowl) to complete. sharpen the car thoroughly. Oh, to be a Rolls-Royce development driver…
I’m joking, of course. Developing and testing new cars, let alone a company’s first EV, is a long and arduous process filled with tedious stress testing and troubleshooting. During the French leg of Rolls’ Specter development, prototype vehicles will fine-tune their new electronic suspension to ensure the extra weight of a large battery doesn’t spoil the brand’s famously soft and comfortable ride.
Speaking of which, Rolls-Royce says its Flagbearer system, which uses GPS and a camera to prepare the suspension for upcoming turns, has been upgraded.
The company said: “Once a turn is confirmed as imminent by satellite navigation data and the Flagbearer system, the [anti-roll bars] are re-coupled, the suspension dampers stiffen and the four-wheel steering prepares for activation to ensure effortless entry and exit. While cornering, more than 18 sensors are monitored and parameters for steering, braking, power delivery and suspension are adjusted accordingly, keeping Specter stable. ”
Now that most Rolls-Royce owners drive themselves (until recently their preference was to drive for decades), perfecting everyday usability on equivalent roads will be high on the engineers’ to-do list.
The company says the Specter is the stiffest Rolls-Royce yet, at around 30 percent thanks to its integrated battery pack, and with a drag coefficient of 0.25 also the more aerodynamic – something that helps improve range while at the same time wind noise, which will have no place to hide without a V12 engine under the bow.
While it is undoubtedly a bonus for test drivers, there is good reason for Rolls-Royce to develop the Specter on the roads of the French Riviera – this is where many owners like to drive their own cars. The company added: “This provision for testing under local, real-life conditions is being replicated in key markets around the world, as the brand goes to great lengths to ensure its products meet – and so often exceed – the expectations of its very demanding customer base.”