Top Gear – Cat Dow – Rolls-Royce

Electrogenic showcases its latest modern-electric-meets-classic-stunner creation

Original article published 30 August 2023

Ooh, an electric 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom II? Yes, please

The talented lot from Electrogenic have been at it again, this time electrifying a Rolls Royce. And not just any Rolls: a superb 1929 Phantom II classic. Set to be showcased at the fancy Salon Privé event this weekend, the motor is a million miles from the gas guzzler of yore.

Electrogenic has taken the ginormous 7.7-litre pushrod straight six engine out of the Phantom II and replaced it with a 150kW electric motor sitting between the chassis rails. It’s powered by a 93kWh battery, sitting under the bonnet.

The Oxfordshire-based brand has a reputation for creating ‘drop in’ EV conversion solutions (and don’t forget its infamous commitment to preserving character in its cars). Yet this particular project was tricky to get off the ground after being commissioned by a private collector. 

Steve Drummond, Director of Electrogenic, said: “It has been an immensely complicated and rewarding project, carried out over the course of 18 months by our team of sector-leading engineers, programmers and fabricators… It’s been technically challenging – from initially exploring the feasibility of the project and technical specifications, to then developing different rendered options for how we would integrate the EV componentry. This included options for how the batteries should be displayed under the bonnet.”

There are certain hallmark quirks of a Rolls build – such as the centralised chassis lubrication system that creates the smooth drive, and the braking system – which Electrogenic tells us challenged its efforts to sympathetically re-engineer the Phantom to be all-electric. 

Shifting that engine and transmission out of the engine bay left, as you’d expect, a great void in which to sit the batteries. In typical Electrogenic fashion, there’s a sculpted aluminium cowling over the batteries so when the Phantom’s bonnet’s raised, the innards of the car are still as impressive as they ever were.

The Phantom now has an LED state of charge (SoC) gauge and a swathe of other EV-focussed meters, which we are assured have been ‘creatively re-worked’. Among the contemporary conveniences is a high-end multi-speaker audio system, which boasts Bluetooth connectivity and a sub under the rear seat for aural delights.

While Electrogenic hasn’t managed to reduce the two-tonne kerb weight of the thing, the Phantom II has around 150 miles of real-world driving range and a ‘power-harvesting’ regenerative braking system – which involves hitting the ‘regen doubler’ downhill to maximise those miles. Fun.

Drummond also said: “This is undoubtedly the most complex classic car EV conversion yet attempted, the stunning results really are a testament to the world-leading talents of our team.
“While it sounds like we’ve carried out a great deal of modifications – and we have – I’m particularly proud of the fact that, as with all Electrogenic conversions, nothing has been drilled or cut on the car. All the parts can be reassembled, and the car returned to its original state, if required.”

Naysayers, does that put your mind at ease?

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