Rolls-Royce is considering ditching all-electric powertrains in favor of fuel cell technology for its future zero-emissions models once the technology is mature enough and can be scaled to meet its demands, according to Autocar, quoting the luxury car brand’s CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös.
The statement comes after the debut of the Spectre, the company’s first-ever series-production battery electric vehicle (BEV), which is powered by a massive 120-kilowatt-hour battery that can enable a driving range of over 300 miles (482 kilometers) and can charge at up to 195 kilowatts.
But even as Rolls-Royce transitions from silky-smooth gasoline-powered V12 engines to electric motors getting juice from huge battery packs, the company’s CEO says hydrogen fuel cell technology is considered a possible alternative for future models and one that could work well with the niche use case of the average Rolls-Royce user.
Gallery: 2023 Rolls-Royce Spectre
Hydrogen-powered combustion engines are out of the question, though, as Müller-Ötvös thinks it’s not the most efficient way to use the chemical element, recalling what parent company BMW trialed in the early 2000s with a specially engineered 7 Series.
“I think a hydrogen combustion engine is nothing I would in any way look into, because that was tested already years ago,” he said. “This is not the most efficient way to use hydrogen,” he added. “If hydrogen will be used in the future, then it’s fuel cells. And fuel cells are nothing different from a battery. It is just how you get the energy.
“And why not? I would say so when the time is right for us, and when the technology is so much advanced, that it is definitely something we would pursue as Rolls-Royce. Why not? We might exit batteries, and we might enter into fuel cells.”
But there’s a potential problem that may stop the British luxury brand from going forward with this approach.
“You can’t obviously have hydrogen charging at home, whereas [with battery EVs] you have one big advantage, and all our clients have big garages. There is lots of space at home and there is lots of space in office buildings to install charging. Quite a lot of our clients already have charging installed at home because, for many, Spectre is not their very first electric car.”
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