Fast Lane: Electric Rolls-Royce to launch in late 2023, Volvo to phase out leather

Spectre, the battery-powered limousine will be in showrooms from the fourth quarter of 2023.
Spectre, the battery-powered limousine will be in showrooms from the fourth quarter of 2023.PHOTO: ROLLS-ROYCE

Electric Rolls-Royce Spectre to debut in late 2023

One of the worst-kept secrets in the automotive world is out - Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will build an electric car.

To be called Spectre, the battery-powered limousine will be in showrooms from the fourth quarter of 2023. The car will undergo 2.5 million km of testing before that.

The BMW-owned marque says all its cars will be electric by 2030.

The Spectre will be built on a versatile platform which started with the new Phantom. Going electric is not new to Rolls-Royce.

Its most recent foray was in 2011, when it created the 102EX, an experimental electric car which went on a worldwide tour to offer journalists short test-drives.

The car was an electric Phantom, with its 6.75-litre V12 replaced by a huge lithium-ion battery pack powering two motors driving the rear wheels.


Jeep's tough new Grand Cherokee is also greener


Jeep's fifth-generation Grand Cherokee. PHOTO: JEEP

Jeep's fifth-generation Grand Cherokee will be available as a plug-in hybrid. The Grand Cherokee 4xe is unveiled alongside its ultimate off-road sibling, the new Trailhawk.

The cars boast air suspension with electronic semi-active damping, which delivers class-leading ground clearance of up to 28.7cm and 61cm of water fording. They have a towing weight of 3,265kg, courtesy of a powerful 5.7-litre V8 engine.


Two wild concepts from SAIC's London studio


SAIC Design's R RYZR Concept. PHOTO: SAIC

Chinese automotive giant SAIC's London design studio has come up with a two-seater concept called MG Maze.

Built around the tagline "Get Out & Play", the concept combines mobility and gaming, "driven by a consumer appetite for something fresh, bold, brave and exciting".

The exterior features a transparent shell, emulating high-end gaming PCs with exposed componentry. Its outer surface is fluid and dynamic, exposing aspects of the chassis and interior design that are otherwise hidden from view.

It sits alongside another concept called R RYZR, which combines urban mobility and wearable technology in the form of a motorbike-like car. It features a jacket which starts the car.

The concept promises motorcycle agility with car-like stability, while the RYZR clothing concept means there is no need for an app or a key.


VW's massive battery plant in China to go online soon

Volkswagen Anhui Components Co's plant in Hefei will deliver more than 150,000 battery systems a year for Volkswagen Anhui's electric models from the second half of 2023.

Volkswagen Group China will invest more than €140 million (S$221 million) in the new plant and its facilities. VW's target is for its China fleet to be at least 40 per cent electric by 2030. The 45,000 sq m plant's initial annual capacity will be 150,000 to 180,000 high-voltage battery systems.


Nissan's second electric van to arrive as early as next year


Nissan Townstar. PHOTO: NISSAN

Nissan's new electric van is called Townstar, which builds on the success of the e-NV200, its first battery-powered light commercial vehicle.

The Townstar will be equipped with a 44kWh battery powering a motor producing 245Nm of torque and 284km of range - a 43 per cent improvement over the outgoing e-NV200.

A 1.3-litre petrol engine option producing 130hp and 240Nm will be available. The electric variant is expected to arrive late next year or early 2023.


Volvo Cars to phase out leather, unveils new logo


New Volvo logo. PHOTO: VOLVO

Volvo Cars is taking an ethical stand for animal welfare in its fully electric cars. Starting with the new C40 Recharge, all new fully electric Volvo models will be completely leather-free.

By 2030, it aims to offer only fully electric cars - all of them leather-free. Instead, it will offer customers alternatives such as quality sustainable materials made from bio-based and recycled sources.

By 2025, the company is aiming for 25 per cent of the material in new Volvo cars to consist of recycled and bio-based content, as it looks to become a fully circular business by 2040.

The Swedish marque has also changed its "Iron Mark" logo to a flatter and simpler form.


Seat launches electric bike


Seat MO eScooter 125 PHOTO: SEAT MÓ

The Seat MO eScooter 125 is an electric motorcycle from the Volkswagen-owned Spanish carmaker with a removable battery for easy charging.

It has a top speed of 94.5kmh and a range of 136km. It is powered by a rear in-hub 9kW motor which produces 240Nm of torque. There are three driving modes - City, Sport and Eco.

Its 5.6kWh lithium-ion battery pack can be easily removed and fully charged in six to eight hours from any standard 240-volt home socket.