Electric Rolls-Royce Phantom on the way?

Although the electrification of the automobile is inevitable, building a long-range electric car that the average person can afford is a challenge that probably won't be met for several years. But building an electric version of a car that already costs $350,000 might not be so hard.

Rolls-Royce is reportedly considering offering an electric version of its Phantom ultra-luxury car, a company executive told AutoWeek Netherlands. There are numerous reasons for this, including the aforementioned price advantage. More specifically, a few thousand dollars of batteries would hardly be a noticeable addition to the $350,000 price tag, and that's before you take into account the deletion of the very expensive hand-built V12. At the end of the day, electrifying a Phantom might actually make it cheaper.

Oh, and there's another problem electric cars often face that won't even come into the Rolls-Royce equation -- weight. The Roller's massive V12 and heavy-duty transmission weigh so much already that they could probably be replaced by a few hundred pounds of lithium-ion batteries and a lightweight electric motor without adding much to the overall mass.

Lastly, the there's the issue of range. Cars like the Phantom are almost always used to chauffeur VIPs around town. With long-range driving usually out of the question, the final pitfall of electric cars -- their range -- is not a concern here. That said, we see no reason why a Phantom couldn't fit at least as many batteries as a Tesla Model S, so a 300 mile range should be achievable. Yes, the Phantom is heavier than the Model S, but it's also a lot bigger and therefore has more space for batteries.

The torquey nature of an electric motor also fits with the Rolls-Royce experience, and silent operation jibes well with ultra-luxury motoring.

So when might an electric Roller hit the market? We'd bet it's still a few years off. Better start saving!