Here’s why Rolls-Royce chose to ‘extreme test’ its all-electric Spectre in South Africa

Published Feb 9, 2023


Cape Town - The Rolls Royce Spectre is the prestigious British brand’s first fully-electric car, but before it hits the shelves the company is putting it through the most rigorous testing programme it has ever created.

The battery-powered coupe model is currently undergoing the third phase of its testing programme right here in South Africa, where it is being subjected to hot weather testing in the Augrabies region of the Northern Cape as well as Franschhoek in the Western Cape winelands.

But why was South Africa chosen for the brand’s most extreme testing programme ever?

Of course, it has nothing to do with the challenges of an inconsistent electricity supply and everything to do with the “stable yet contrasting climates” that one finds here. These are believed to provide some of the finest summer weather driving in the world, thanks to the extremely hot and dry conditions up north and more humid, Mediterranean-style conditions towards the southern tip of the country.

“At its hottest, temperatures can exceed 50°C, while the southern region hosts a great variety of surfaces and terrains, including twisting country roads replete with gravel, dust and dirt. Truly testing conditions, by any measure,” Rolls Royce said.

“During this stage, engineers are observing and refining every system, hardware item and software protocol that has been developed over the course of almost two million kilometres of continuous testing.

“Only through such painstaking assessments can Rolls-Royce’s technical experts achieve the exacting levels of ride refinement that are so central to the experience beloved by clients, and successfully translate the marque’s defining ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ to the new all-electric paradigm,” the carmaker added.

Rolls-Royce is fine tuning the Spectre to almost every last detail, using the “marginal gains” theory that’s also employed in high-level sport, in which very small and incremental adjustments are intended to cumulatively produce a significant overall improvement.

The company says its engineers have already spent over 1500 hours perfecting the regenerative braking system to ensure that it feels “effortless but present”.

The temperature variances between Arjeplog in Sweden, where the vehicle was extensively tested, and South Africa are also helping to ensure that the seals keep the cabin correctly insulated for all extremes of climate.

Revealed in October last year, the Rolls-Royce Sceptre is set to go on sale internationally during the fourth quarter of 2023.

It’s built around the company’s scalable aluminium architecture and according to preliminary data, the electric motors are expected to produce in the region of 430kW and 900Nm, which will be sufficient for a 4.4-second 0-100km/h dash.

Rolls-Royce estimates a WLTP range of around 520km.

Occupants enter through rear-hinged doors to be greeted by a galaxy of ‘stars’. In addition to the starlight roof lining seen on other Rolls-Royce cars, the Spectre also has Starlight Doors, which house almost 4800 softly illuminated lights.

But it’s also very much a car that you can personalise down to the last detail, with Rolls-Royce claiming that the possible trim and specification possibilities are “near endless”.

IOL Motoring