“The announcement of every new Rolls-Royce motor car carries a great weight of expectation, but Spectre is unquestionably the most anticipated product in the marque’s modern history. This is because it is much more than a product. It is a symbol for our bright, bold electric future, and it represents a seismic shift in our powertrain technology.
It is for this reason that we have created a testing programme that is as significant and historical as Spectre itself. The extraordinary undertaking of educating Spectre to think and behave like a Rolls-Royce will cover 2.5 million kilometres, which is a simulation of more than 400 years of use for a Rolls-Royce. Today, I can confirm that 25% of this journey is now complete, and the results have met our most ambitious expectations.” Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
ROLLS-ROYCE SPECTRE: WINTER TESTING
A new Rolls-Royce motor car always begins its life in winter. Temperatures at the Bespoke facility used by the marque, located in Arjeplog, Sweden, just 55km from the arctic circle, drop to -26 degrees centigrade and are further cooled to -40 degrees centigrade.
There are several reasons for subjecting the marque’s products to such extremes. When the first prototypes are built, engineers perform very basic tests in extreme conditions to ensure that each system is operational and functions at a basic level in a cold weather environment.
This test is combined with the beginnings of the refinement process – the first ‘lessons’ in a finishing school that will form the foundations of a motor car worthy of the marque.
This begins with processes that are common to the automotive industry such as noise, vibration and harshness tests. The variables that affect this are manifold, spanning from the materials selected for major hardware components to the density of the door rubbers, bushing compounds, fastening materials and even properties of bonding agents. The performance of these variables can change considerably when subjected to extreme temperatures – likewise the efficiency of the motor car’s heating, ventilation, air conditioning and cooling systems.
As a true luxury brand, there is an additional component of winter testing that is of great importance to Rolls-Royce. This is defined by the marque’s engineers as ‘de-escalated time’, which enables incredible accuracy and control in creating the Rolls-Royce experience using Spectre’s chassis control systems, powertrain management and electronics control.
By driving on low traction surfaces such as snow and ice and wilfully destabilising Spectre, the engineers can create dynamic circumstances at low speeds that would ordinarily occur at high speeds. This can be reviewed and guided in situ and in slow motion, in doing so parametrising and finessing cold-weather vehicle performance in areas such as handling, controllability, stability, predictability and the ‘waftability’ that defines the Rolls-Royce experience.
De-escalated time enables engineers to create unparalleled detail in the motor car’s response, in doing so schooling Spectre to think, behave and communicate like a Rolls-Royce worthy of the marque. Following more than half a million kilometres of testing, 25% of this process has now been completed.
ROLLS-ROYCE SPECTRE: THE EXTRAORDINARY UNDERTAKING CONTINUES
With the winter testing phase completed, Spectre will continue its global testing programme. The Electric Super Coupé still has to complete nearly two million kilometres before the marque’s engineers will consider this undertaking complete prior to first customer deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2023.