Wallpaper – Jonathan Bell – Rolls-Royce

This Roll-Royce Phantom II is perhaps the most complex EV conversion ever undertaken, transforming the 1929 classic into a strong, silent EV that’ll fit right in with modern traffic

Original article published 31 August 2023 


Electrogenic breathes new life into this 1929 Rolls-Royce with a bespoke EV conversion

The debate about the electrification of classic cars rumbles on. For some, it’s a necessary transformation that breathes new life into old designs, future-proofing them for the next generation and ensuring they can continue to be used in every setting. 

(Image credit: Electrogenic)

Others see the process as something approaching sacrilege, the desecration of the beating heart of an old car, removing the sound, smell and sensations that give an automobile its meaning and soul. Electrogenic obviously doesn’t agree. The UK-based company has applied its electrification skills to a wide variety of classics, creating bespoke EV versions of everything from the Volkswagen Beetle to the Citroën DS. It also produces kits for the Land Rover Defender, classic Porsche 911, and Jaguar E-Type, reducing the complexity of a conversion with a standardised feature set. 

(Image credit: Electrogenic)

This, on the other hand, is almost guaranteed to remain a one-off. Commissioned by a private collector, this transformation of the 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II into an EV is the culmination of an 18-month process – ‘an immensely complicated and rewarding project’, according to Steve Drummond, Electrogenic’s director.

(Image credit: Electrogenic)

Interwar EV conversions are rare enough, but tackling the majestic scale of the Phantom II took the company’s skills to another level, with thousands of hours’ worth of work required to install 93kWh of batteries beneath Rolls-Royce’s long bonnet. The cells are housed in a hand-riveted aluminium cowling that evokes the complexity of the original 7.7-litre straight-six (removed and retained for future reinstatement, should that ever be necessary). The braking system was subtly updated, and a contemporary sound system was also embedded discretely within the original cabin.

(Image credit: Finn Beales)

Electrogenic’s specialism is incorporating batteries into a car’s existing structure, and while the Phantom II offered a lot of space within its HJ Mulliner & Co coachwork, there were still extensive calculations and CAD modelling required to combine two technologies separated by a century. The end result emphasises classic Rolls-Royce values – smooth, silent, effortless progress – with a range of around 150 miles.  

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