Autonomy and electricity are the future of the car industry, but not for Rolls-Royce. See, Rolls-Royce customers should not have to sit in a driver’s seat and tap a steering wheel to tell a car they’re still awake. The thought of it is absurd. They have chauffeurs for that, so long as future generations learn how to drive.
It’s obvious that by not going with the flow, Rolls wants to preserve its aloof and high-status demeanor as an automaker. Anyone who pays $300,000, on the low end, for a boxy sedan certainly doesn’t need the luxuries we common folk do, like automated driving or supporting our grassroots environmental efforts with more fuel-efficient cars. Just the thought of it sounds cheap.
But Rolls employees are far more qualified explain this high-class mindset to you, since on-the-record pretentiousness truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Enjoy some select quotes from Road & Track, emphasis ours:
“Currently, our cars are not used for daily driving purposes,” Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös told journalists at the debut of the 2018 Phantom in Switzerland. “When people drive our car, it’s for special occasions.
“All of our clients have chauffeurs,” he went on. “They have garages like we have wardrobes, for every occasion the right car.”
What about an autonomous Rolls? Until one can be as flawless and private as a horse-drawn carriage, forget it.
“At least something where it’s what I’d call effortless,” [Müller-Ötvös] said. “Not where I always have to keep my finger on the steering wheel. Then it starts to become no longer relaxed.”
Richard Carter, Director of Global Communications for Rolls Royce, agrees. “This super-wealthy crowd, they’re not really after gimmicks,” he said. “They say to us, ‘it’s great technology, autonomy would be fantastic, but bring it to Rolls-Royce when it’s perfect.’”
No half-assing anything, either. Rolls is too good for that.
The automaker has committed to a pivot to electric drivetrains, but it won’t pursue hybrids as a halfway point.
“Full electric, not hybrid or plug-in or electrification or whatever,” Müller-Ötvös said. “We won’t do any interim steps. The whole [electric drivetrain] character—torquey, silent—fits perfectly for Rolls-Royce.”
And with that, the folks at Rolls probably kicked their feet up and sipped fruity drinks while being fed grapes from vine under the shade of $700 umbrellas. They’re in no hurry with that “automation” and “electrification” stuff, after all.