Rolls-Royce to slim down for plug-in hybrid, and full electric

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British luxury car maker to put next-gen Phantom on strict diet and electric workout, with plans for a plug-in hybrid and even a full electric version.

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CleanTechnica

Big, bold, British luxury car maker Rolls-Royce is putting the next-generation Phantom on a strict diet and plug-in hybrid workout plan. Image is everything after all, and these days it’s in vogue to at least look like you give a damn about the planet’s environmental woes.

rolls-roycehybridSet to launch in three years, the next Rolls-Royce Phantom will look different, and offer both traditional V12 power and a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. The optional plug-in hybrid will likely slot above the powerful V12, if Rolls has any wit about them. The performance potential of a budget-be-damned plug-in hybrid luxury sedan, and such a car could make even the most adrant oil baron a believer in hybrid technology.

If Rolls wants to achieve even a modicum of efficiency though, the Phantom will have to go on a serious diet, as the current car comes in at a massive 5,710 pounds. Put an average couple in there, and you’re looking at a three-ton car…and this is with a lightweight aluminum space frame! Parent company BMW is said to be considering a carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) body shell to shed some of that excess weight. The Phantom is a prime candidate for CFRP, especially with BMW tripling output at its carbon fiber factory.

There’s also talk of a pure electric phantom, and with a drastic weight reduction, the next Phantom could dip below 5,000 pounds, not far from where the Tesla Model S sits. With a big-enough battery (made possible by a big price tag), an electric Rolls-Royce could make sense. Right now though, there are too many “ifs”, and with and plug-in hybrid model almost a certainty, I won’t hold my breath waiting for an electric Rolls.

Source: AutoCar

Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2014/05/20/rolls-royce-plans-reduce-weight-plug-hybrid-phantom/#wqwdxvxld0C8zOug.99

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