Rolls-Royce’s all-electric super coupe Spectre has covered almost 2,000,000km as it nears completion of the third phase of the most rigorous testing program that a Rolls-Royce vehicle has ever undergone.
At present, the Spectre is being subjected to extreme hot weather tests in South Africa, in the Augrabies in the Northern Cape, and in Franschhoek in the Western Cape winelands. At times, temperatures can exceed 50°C, while the southern region delivers a range of surfaces and terrains with gravel, dust and dirt.
During this stage of testing, the OEM’s engineers are observing and refining each system, hardware item and software protocol to achieve the levels of ride refinement associated with the Rolls-Royce brand, with each of the Spectre’s 25,000 separate performance-related functions being tailored. For the testing program, the OEM is following the principles of marginal gains, in which individual, small and incremental adjustments will combine to produce a significant overall improvement.
To date, more than 1,500 hours have been spent optimizing the car’s regenerative braking to ensure it feels effortless but also present. Datalogging equipment processes sensor inputs generated by this braking force, to ensure that adjustments do not compromise the overall driving experience of the Spectre. Furthermore, the vehicle’s anti-roll stabilization is also being tuned to ensure the super-coupe delivers excellent ride quality. The testing of this system is being conducted in the high temperatures of South Africa as heat can have an impact on the hardness of rubber suspension components.
Further testing of the Spectre’s sealing materials is also being carried out to ensure the vehicle delivers the highest aero-acoustic performance. This process is essential because rubber sealing materials perform differently in a range of temperatures. During testing of the model in Arjeplog in Sweden, the seals hardened in sub-zero temperatures, while in South Africa, the acoustic performance of the seals softened by higher temperatures are being tested.
Even interior components are being subjected to tests, with the Spectre’s 17 speaker audio system being tested and tuned using a specially curated playlist to meet real-world requirements following initial testing and calibration in a laboratory.
Once data collected from South Africa has been analyzed, with relevant actions and measures implemented, the vehicle’s testing program will be approximately 80% complete. The final stage of the OEM’s test program will consist of all-season testing in the sub-zero temperatures of the Arjeplog, Sweden, and in the warmer temperatures of the Côte d’Azur in France.
For the final 500,000kms, a Lifestyle Analysis of the Spectre will be carried out. This proprietary testing process will see the vehicle being tested in super-luxury situations and use-cases specific to Rolls-Royce clients.
Before being delivered to clients in Q4 of 2023, the Spectre will have undergone testing that equates to 400 years of normal use, with the car covering more than 2,500,000km.
“This remarkable and transformative motor car represents the beginning of the marque’s bold electric era as well as our unquestionable technological leadership of the super-luxury space,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, chief executive officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Equally, this vast, ambitious and demanding testing process symbolizes our promise to ensure Spectre is undoubtedly a Rolls-Royce first.”
“The reason for our extraordinary and restless global testing process is simple: there has never been a motor car like Spectre before,” explained Dr. Mihiar Ayoubi, director of engineering, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “As the first all-electric Rolls-Royce, Spectre represents not just a new paradigm in our technology, but the entire future direction of our brand. Only Rolls-Royce engineers could conceive this astonishing journey, and only Rolls-Royce engineers could undertake it: the task is not to test a motor car but to elevate the benchmark of automotive excellence.”
Testing of the Spectre started in winter 2021 at a special testing facility in Arjeplog, Sweden, near to the Arctic Circle. In -40°C, engineers examined and refined the Spectre’s performance and handling in snow and ice, while also investigating the effects of prolonged extreme cold on the car’s batteries and other electronic systems. During summer 2022, the Spectre spent time testing in the French Riviera and around the Côte d’Azur. This included testing at the Autodrome de Miramas proving ground, with its 60km of closed routes and 20 test track environments. The majority of the testing, however, was carried out in the Provençal countryside to assess the Spectre’s capabilities in real-world conditions where many of the cars are expected to spend the majority of their service life.