Rolls in the Future

It is called the VISION NEXT 100 and it is what Giles Taylor, director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, proposes that the Rolls of “the future” will look like, a massive (232 inches long, 63 inches high, the same dimensions as the Phantom Extended Wheelbase, which, having been introduced in 2003, will be going out of production this November), stylish, electric-powered (the company says it is “zero emissions,” and in 2011, announced the 102EX, an experimental electric vehicle, so it stands to reason that it, which is code-named the 103EX, is an EV), autonomous vehicle.

This concept has a design that seems to have been informed by Steampunk.

While there is little information regarding the technology underlying the powertrain (well this is, after all, a concept that was created in line with the BMW Group centennial celebrations), it is noted that because the car, which has the distinctive Rolls design cues, such as the Pantheon grille topped by the Spirit of Ecstasy and a long hood, doesn’t have a massive W12 under that bonnet, it has been transformed into a luggage compartment that can accommodate two Grand Tourer cases.

While there is no information regarding the technology underlying the 103EX autonomous capability, it is noted that the instrument panel and the steering wheel are “superfluous.” So in the area where there would otherwise be the IP and the steering wheel, there is a transparent OLED screen that can provide infotainment to the occupants of the vehicle. And the traditional seats have given way to an ivory-colored silk sofa. The silk fabric is combined with wool, presumably to add a modicum of durability.

And speaking of wool, there is deep-pile ivory-colored wool carpet, especially woven for the vehicle in London.

There is a two-tone color scheme to the vehicle, predicated primarily on the top half of the vehicle, as the body can conceivably be any color. The top is dark: it is a glass canopy that covers the cabin. The canopy is hinged on the left side of the vehicle and when opened allows the occupants to stand upright.

There is a single door that opens, and when it does, a step emerges from beneath the running board. One of the most striking elements are the fenders that encompass the 28-inch wheels. The wheels are handcrafted from 65 pieces of aluminum. Perhaps as a nod to the great Rolls of the past, the steering struts are visible despite the otherwise highly aerodynamic design of the vehicle (e.g., the bottom of the vehicle is completely smooth, like a boat hull).

Speaking of the 103EX, Taylor says, “It is an expression of our intrinsic understanding of the possibilities for a true luxury brand and the desires of its customers.”