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ROLLS-ROYCE PLANS PLUG-IN HYBRID

Luxury car maker Rolls-Royce has confirmed plans to introduce its first-ever plug-in hybrid model within the next three years.

Rolls-Royce-2Speaking to Auto Express during the Geneva Motor Show, Rolls-Royce’s CEO, Torsten Müller-Otvos, described hybrid technology as “essential in two years, maybe not from customer demand but through legal regulation on emissions,” if the car company wants to continue using V12 powerplants.

Rolls-Royce has already toyed with an all-electric version of its Phantom flagship, the 102EX, but it failed to excite any of the brand’s existing clients and so never went any further than the prototype stage.

“A Rolls-Royce cannot come with any kind of compromise, and both the recharging times and the range were not acceptable for our buyers — but with hybrid technology that is no longer a problem,” said Müller-Otvos.

It is unclear what model Rolls-Royce could first implement a plug-in hybrid powertrain into, but the next-generation Phantom is a possible candidate.

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Rolls-Royce-5It’s likely Rolls-Royce’s plug-in hybrid car would use technology from parent company BMW, which is set to launch the X5 eDrive and the i8.

While Rolls-Royce is now a self-sustaining business without influence from BMW, the prohibitive cost of developing an all-new plug-in powertrain means BMW’s help may be invaluable in getting such a car to market.