Sean O'Grady: A feelgood Roller for plutocrats with a conscience

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The Independent Online

An electric Rolls-Royce is a shockingly good idea. Replacing its V12 internal combustion engine, its noise and vibrations already well-suppressed, with a practically inaudible electric motor would lend the firm's Phantom limousine still greater levels of refinement.

Its cabin would be rendered even more cocoon-like and the car left unobtrusive even to those outside it, something that has not yet been achieved in 120 years of the automobile. It would also liberate Rolls-Royce from the stigma of being both a traditional symbol of capitalist conspicuous consumption, and a profligate consumer of fossil fuels.

The Rolls-Royce is also the ideal size and shape for such a project – its sheer scale providing plenty of opportunities for battery storage. The fully electric Rolls-Royce must be a few years off, but a hybrid could arrive surprisingly soon, possibly in the forthcoming "Baby Rolls", the Ghost. For plutocrats with a social conscience – and there must be some – an electric Rolls-Royce cannot arrive too soon.