Rolls-Royce’s first electric car, the $420,000 Spectre, has arrived. At a press event marking the EV’s launch, the brand’s CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös told Insider he’s proud of what Rolls-Royce has achieved in a big-picture sense — by transplanting the essential character of a Rolls into a vehicle with a completely novel powertrain and fuel source. But when asked about his absolute favorite parts of the new model, a few smaller, more subtle details sprang to mind.
Rolls-Royce is renowned for painstakingly making sure every detail on a vehicle is as elegant as possible.
Look closely at the Spectre’s taillights and you’ll notice they’re single, uninterrupted parts, plunged into a smooth, uninterrupted body panel. Rolls-Royce says this sophisticated look is meant to evoke “islands in a lake.”
Most cars’ taillights are broken up by a trunk lid, or butt up against a gap in the bodywork. That makes things easier, the brand’s design director, Anders Warming, said. But the Spectre isn’t most cars.
Achieving that look and making sure everything was water-tight took lots of engineering, Müller-Ötvös said.
“The effort we’ve put into those rear lights to give them that shape and also more or less stick them into the body was quite something,” he said. “We finally got there, and it works.”
A grille? On an EV?
What’s a Rolls-Royce without its iconic, upright grille? It’s such a recognizable design element that Rolls-Royce decided to keep it for the Spectre, even though there’s no radiator or engine up front.
“I also love the detail of the Pantheon grille, because that was also something not in any way debatable,” Müller-Ötvös said. “You might argue you don’t need a grille because there is no cooling air needed, but obviously this is such a signifier of our brand that we said it’s unthinkable not to have one.”
Müller-Ötvös said the company went to great lengths to adjust the grille’s design so it would deflect air around the car and aid aerodynamics. In an EV, every bit of drag you can eliminate adds driving range.
A brake pedal with a new feature
Every new Rolls has doors that electronically swing shut at the push of a button. The Spectre introduces a new feature that makes things even more effortless. Now all you need to do is hop in and press the brake pedal, and the driver’s door closes automatically.