Rolls-Royce dismisses plug-in hybrids; EV timing still unclear

Rolls-Royce dismisses plug-in hybrids; EV timing still unclear

Rolls-Royce is not interested in launching any plug-in hybrids to bridge the gap between its current powertrains and an all-electric future.

CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes early last year predicted that regulatory changes could force a complete shift to battery power by 2040. The luxury marque aims to keep its 12-cylinder engines alive as long as possible, however, and is in no rush to launch an EV.

Speaking to media at a recent event in Pebble Beach, the executive noted that Rolls-Royce will only sell an all-electric model "when the time is right," according to Roadshow.

"We are on it," he added. "Rest assured."

The company apparently views hybrid powertrains as an illogical use of financial resources, restricting funds that could otherwise be spent pursuing EV projects. Further eroding the business case for gasoline-electric offerings, Mueller-Oetvoes also predicts that legislative shifts will increasingly favor EVs over hybrids and younger customers are more likely to be interested in pure EVs.

Waning interest in hybrids is also becoming apparent among several major automakers. A recent report suggests General Motors and Volkswagen are both winding down their hybrid plans for the same reason Rolls-Royce is avoiding the technology altogether.