|Rolls-Royce 102EX Concept|
Rolls-Royce owners can easily afford to pay high gas guzzler taxes, aren't concerned about soaring fuel prices, and don't care whether London continues to exempt electric vehicles from its daily congestion charge. And in truth, with annual sales of less than 1000 vehicles the Phantom's contribution to global oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions is an almost immeasurable fraction of that made by the 72 million cars and light trucks sold around the world last year.
But as the big, opulent Phantom is seen by some as a symbol of excess rather success, the 102EX is really more about symbolism than saving the planet. Ironically, an electric-powered Phantom makes a lot of sense, on several levels. First, the characteristics of an electric powertrain -- abundant low-end torque, plus unparalleled smoothness and silence -- have been the hallmarks of Rolls-Royce engines since the 1907 Silver Ghost. Second, most current Phantom owners don't actually drive their cars that far, averaging somewhere between 1000 and 2000 miles a year, according to Rolls-Royce communications director Richard Carter.