Rolls-Royce continues the rigorous of its new all-electric Spectre in preparation for its release later this year.
Spectre, Rolls-Royce’s genre-defining all-electric super coupé, has now covered almost two million kilometres as it completes the third phase of the most rigorous testing programme ever devised in the marque’s 118-year history. This has already surpassed every Rolls-Royce testing programme before it – and it is still far from over, despite a release date in Q4 2023.
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Spectre is currently undergoing extreme hot weather tests in two locations in South Africa: Augrabies in the Northern Cape; and Franschhoek, the ‘French Corner’ in the Western Cape winelands. The stable yet contrasting climates provide some of the finest summer-weather driving in the world, with dry and extremely hot conditions in the north and more humid, Mediterranean-style, conditions in the south. At its hottest, temperatures can exceed 50°C, while the southern region hosts a great variety of surfaces and terrains, including twisting country roads replete with gravel, dust and dirt. Truly testing conditions, by any measure.
During this stage, engineers are observing and refining every system, hardware item and software protocol that has been developed over the course of almost two million kilometres of continuous testing. Only through such painstaking assessments can Rolls-Royce’s technical experts achieve the exacting levels of ride refinement that are so central to the experience beloved by clients, and successfully translate the marque’s defining ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ to the new all-electric paradigm.
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Throughout Spectre’s testing, each of the motor car’s 25,000 separate performance-related functions has been meticulously tailored to deliver a quintessentially Rolls-Royce experience. The refinements being made now follow the principles of ‘marginal gains’, in which individual, very small and incremental adjustments cumulatively produce a significant overall improvement. Though widely used and proven in elite sport and high-level business, this theory is being used during Spectre testing to an unprecedented extent, as part of the wider validation process characterised internally as the Rolls-Royce Finishing School.
Examples of the meticulous attention to detail that Spectre prototypes are being subjected to include over 1500 hours dedicated to finessing the car’s regenerative braking to ensure it feels effortless but present; and
extensive tuning of the anti-roll stabilisation, which is especially relevant in high temperatures, which can alter the hardness of rubber suspension components, providing a parameter that is bookended by the results of extreme cold weather testing.
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As the car approaches the later phases of its exhaustive testing programme, further adjustments will be made to sealing materials to deliver Rolls-Royce’s famed aero-acoustic performance. This process is essential because rubber sealing materials perform differently through the spectrum of temperatures. For example, during Spectre’s testing phase at Arjeplog in Sweden, seals hardened in sub-zero temperatures. Conversely, in South Africa, Rolls-Royce engineers will be assessing the acoustic performance of seals softened in hotter conditions. Their work is therefore to find an optimum balance to ensure the cabin is insulated in all extremes of climate.
In South Africa and throughout the remaining programme, the audio system will also be tuned and finessed to achieve fractional gains in the quality of the sound offered through Spectre’s 17 speakers. Following initial testing and calibration in a laboratory setting, the system is now being tested exhaustively in real-world conditions. A specially curated playlist presenting a wide range of genres to represent a full spectrum of sonic requirements is used.
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When the experience and data collected from South Africa has been fully analysed, and relevant actions and measures have been implemented, Spectre’s testing programme will be around 80% complete as it sets off on the final ratification phase. This consists of taking the motor car through a condensed programme of ‘all-season’ testing, including return visits to the Arctic extremes of Arjeplog and the more temperate conditions of the Côte d’Azur.
The final 500,000 kilometres of Spectre testing will focus on Lifestyle Analysis, which will see Spectre tested in super-luxury situations and use-cases specific to Rolls-Royce clients.
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