Rolls-Royce is well known as a luxury brand – out of reach for most of us – but jaws dropped when the Rolls of the future was unveiled as part of parent company BMW’s 100th anniversary celebrations.
Unveiled on Thursday in London, this 20-foot, self-driving beauty doesn’t have a driver’s seat; it has a couch, and it looks like it just drove itself out of the latest science fiction movie.
The Rolls-Royce 103EX is an example of what a super-luxury car might look like in the not too distant future. Part of BMW’s “Vision Next 100” program, the new car carries on from the last 100 years of luxury vehicles in a stunning and new direction.
While the average Joe will in the future be heading more and more toward the Uber and Lyft lifestyle of transportation, those with the wherewithal will be lounging in a luxury vehicle that, according to Rolls-Royce, “anticipates the mobility demands of the luxury customer of the future.”
Their statement about the 103EX continued by saying, “Brought to life by Rolls-Royce after many months of study and consultation with current patrons of the brand, the car represents their clearly expressed desire for an assurance that the marque’s plans for the future of luxury personal mobility will continue to embody the key attributes that have made Rolls-Royce the preferred marque of the most discerning and powerful patrons in the world for over a Century.”
According to Rolls-Royce, the Rolls of the future is a distinctive (and very large) vehicle, that takes advantage of smart, self-driving technology.
Rolls-Royce stresses that it is not just a luxurious and totally out of this world vehicle. The 103EX is a zero-emissions, self-driving “smart car” that is, like its predecessors, silent, extremely comfortable, and tailored to suit each individual customer.
The car will be operated not by the owner, but by an artificial intelligence assistant named “Eleanor,” who will not only act as a chauffeur, but also a virtual assistant, which Rolls-Royce promises will free passengers of “all effort and encumbrance.”
As reported by The Verge, unlike the Rolls of today, the interior of the Rolls-Royce 103EX has no leather. Instead, a series of opulent materials has been utilized for the ultimate in comfort. The couch – or sofa as Rolls dubs it – which seats two, is upholstered in silk and wool, and the surroundings include wood paneling and deep-pile wool carpets.
On the front wall of the cabin of the 103EX, a large, transparent OLED screen provides passengers with “in-ride” information and entertainment, while not obstructing the panoramic view from the comfortable couch.
As to what powers the Rolls of the future, the company is still a little vague on that point, stating only that the 103EX would be “zero-emission” and that it is highly unlikely that the gasoline-chugging V12 engines currently used by the company will feature in future models. The 103EX is likely to be an electric vehicle, with the batteries placed in the car’s floor.
According to Quartz, while Rolls-Royce might never produce a car like the 103EX, and while the current example is merely a concept vehicle, the thinking behind it is real and necessary for the future.
There have been automobiles on the streets for over 100 years, but in the current climate, things need to change, with a move away from using fossil fuels being more than necessary. Tesla Motors has played an important role in the introduction of electric cars, but far more still needs to be done.
As with Rolls-Royce and their incredible concept car, other vehicle manufacturers must look to the future if they want to survive.
See more of the 103EX in the video included below.
[Photo by Stephen Hardman/Getty Images for BMW]