Much as Thanos considered his destiny to conquer the universe, Rolls-Royce's electrification is...inevitable. Electric power is the future for automobiles in general, of course, but its quirks suit Rolls-Royce better than most brands; weighty batteries pose little concern to a company whose stock in trade is heavy, imperious vehicles, and the instantaneous torque and smooth power delivery of an electric motor are the sort of driving characteristics the brand currently strives to achieve using giant, inefficient twin-turbo V12s.
When those first electric Rolls-Royces will arrive, however, remains to be seen. According to a new report from Autocar, the first of these new EVs will be an all-new model, not a variant of the Ghost, Cullinan or Phantom — and we could catch our first glimpse of it as soon as this year.
The new "Silent Shadow," as patent filings lead Autocar to believe it'll be named, won't be a carbon copy of the 103EX concept car seen above. It may, however, draw style cues from that retro-future design, which clearly demonstrates that cues like an aircraft carrier deck-sized hood and a Parthenon-style grille are still applicable to a Rolls-Royce without an internal-combustion engine.
Whatever it looks like outside, beneath the skin will likely be many of the components found in the new BMW iX EV SUV that's going on sale this year (BMW, of course, being Rolls-Royce's owner). Rear- and all-wheel-drive versions are reportedly being futzed around with, although BMW sources reportedly tell Autocar that Rolls is leaning towards a dual-motor AWD setup.
Those BMW-sourced components will also likely include a version of the iX's battery, which packs (pun intended) at least 100 kWh of power. BMW claims that battery will be enough to give the heavy iX at least 300 miles of range on the EPA test cycle, so it seems likely that even a bulky Rolls-Royce would come close to that.
Autocar claims that the new Rolls-Royce's development is going along hand-in-hand with BMW's own i7, a flagship all-electric 7 Series that we pray won't resemble this awful rendering. While the two vehicles are designed around different skeletons — the Silent Shadow reportedly uses Rolls-Royce's new "Architecture of Luxury" platform, while the Bimmer is based on that brand's flexible new CLAR, or "Cluster Architecture," bones — many of the electric vehicle-specific parts are allegedly being developed in tandem for ease of production.
Of course, much still remains to be revealed, including the body style (a sedan seems most likely, but people love SUVs, while a coupe or convertible could make for a more notable halo car) and price (if you have to ask, you can't afford it).