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2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale

Alfa Romeo is proud to announce today the all-new 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale, the metamorphosis – “La Metamorfosi” – of the legendary brand highlighted by a new era of luxury, electrification and connectivity while remaining true to its race-inspired DNA. As the first C-SUV from Alfa Romeo, North American consumers will experience more than 110 years of heritage with the evolution of best-in-class performance from two all-new efficient powertrain offerings, which includes a plug-in hybrid with over 30 miles (48 kilometers) of pure electric range and 272 horsepower. Tonale also features a variety of driver assistance systems, Uconnect 5, an all-new connectivity platform with Alfa Connect, sporty and modern Italian styling that remains faithful to the 2019 concept and exhilarating driving dynamics from a rapid-response Frequency Damping Suspension (FDS) system.  

Design

The definitive design of the Tonale is extraordinarily faithful to the concept car from which it draws its origins, courtesy of the remarkable work done at the Design Studio at Centro Stile Alfa Romeo.

Intended for a young, metropolitan and dynamic customer, the Alfa Romeo Tonale offers a distinctive, sensual and forward-looking design. Its compact dimensions – a length of 178.3 inches (4.53 meters), width of 72.4 inches (1.84 meters) and height of 63.0 inches (1.6 meters) – encompass the uniqueness of Italian design, and the original, contemporary style typical of Alfa Romeo, in a synthesis between a prestigious heritage and looking forward to the future.

The recurrence of stylistic features that have entered the history of world motoring, such as the “GT Line” that runs from the rear to the headlights, recalling the forms of the 1960s Giulia GT Junior, and alternating with the full and elegant volumes reminiscent of iconic models, such as the 8C Competizione. The front features the inimitable “Trilobo” and the distinctive Alfa Romeo “Scudetto” shield, which acts as a central focus.

The Tribolo-inspired “3+3” headlight design with new, full LED evoke the proud look of the SZ Zagato or the Proteo concept car. Developed in conjunction with Marelli, the three modules make up a unique frontline for the car and simultaneously provide daylight, dynamic turn signals and a “welcome and goodbye” feature (activated every time the driver turns the car on or off) to ensure the best lighting conditions. These technologies offer greater efficiency, in terms of durability and energy saving with twice the light intensity of conventional halogen lamps, lower emissions and improved safety, with less eye strain and better driving comfort.

The taillights take on the same design cues as the headlights and form a sine curve that fully wraps around the rear of the car, making it a truly unique and distinctive light signature.

The car’s sensuality and dynamism are also clear in the all-encompassing rear window, a tribute to the 8C Competizione, and in the design of the alloy wheels that reproduce the Alfa Romeo style canon of a telephone dial.

Inspired by Alfa Romeo’s racing history, the interior is strongly focused on the driver, with easy access to all controls for a safe, unparalleled driving experience. The same care is reserved for the passengers, who are given the ideal space to travel in comfort. This results in an environment designed for and around the occupants, characterized by meticulous attention to detail paired with a constant quest for the highest quality.

The Tonale’s interior arouses real emotions, not to mention the latest technology, ensuring a connected and comfortable experience, while maintaining the pleasure of a sporty drive that always remains in the lead. Everything is focused on the driver, but also considers the comfort of passengers. Unique patterns, logos and colors point to Alfa Romeo. The sporty and high-tech environment with the cool solidity of aluminum and the warmth and softness of leather and Alcantara suede reflect the personality of a young, metropolitan and dynamic customer.

Propulsion

The Tonale is the most efficient plug-in hybrid C-SUV in the segment, with an electric range of more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) and 272-horsepower. The advanced hybrid system uses the 1.3-liter MultiAir turbocharged four-cylinder engine (180-horsepower) to provide torque to the front wheels. A high-voltage Belt Starter Generator, mounted to the engine, delivers torque to the crankshaft to smooth transitions during changing driving conditions, in addition to providing seamless stop-start capability.

The Tonale’s efficiency and sporty performance is bolstered by a 15.5-kWh lithium-ion battery. The exclusive pack design is a good example of component specifically developed to enhance the Alfa Romeo spirit.

The rear axle of the Tonale is powered by a 90-kW electric motor capable of producing 1,844 lb.-ft. (2,500 Nm) of torque from 0 rpm.

The Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV offers three options in delivering electrified power to the wheels, controlled by the DNA switch. Each mode also includes changes to the driving dynamics (steering, braking and suspension). Regardless of the mode selected, the Tonale operates as an efficient hybrid once the battery nears its minimum state of charge:

  • Dual power (PHEV)/Dynamic – Performance with maximum output from both the engine and electric motor
  • Natural – Power management is automatic for everyday use. A balance of engine and electric motor without compromising performance or driving comfort
  • Advanced efficiency – Designed for pure electric operation, the vehicle will run off the large battery with more than 30 miles (49 kilometers) of pure electric range

The all-new Alfa Romeo Tonale also offers a technologically advanced 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder, a member of Stellantis’ Global Medium Engine family, rated at a best-in-class standard horsepower of 256 and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. Equipped with a twin-scroll, low inertia turbocharger, direct fuel injection and engine stop-start technology, this engine gives Tonale the brand’s iconic dynamic performance and drivability.

The available plug-in hybrid engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, while the standard 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder is paired with a nine-speed automatic. Both propulsion systems feature standard Q4 AWD traction to ensure an unparalleled level of safety and driving pleasure.

Software and connectivity

In a world exclusive, Tonale debuts non-fungible token (NFT) technology, a true innovation in the automotive sector. Alfa Romeo is the first automaker to link a car with an NFT digital certificate. The technology is based on the “blockchain card” concept, a confidential and non-modifiable record of the main stages in the life of an individual vehicle. This distinctive off-board feature – immediately usable and sustainable – epitomizes the innovative nature of Alfa Romeo. With the customer’s consent, the NFT will record vehicle data, generating a certificate that can be used to assure the car has been properly maintained, with a positive impact on its residual value. On the pre-owned car market, NFT certification represents an additional source of credibility for owners or dealers to count on. In the meantime, buyers will be reassured in their choice of car.

Alfa Romeo uses software and connectivity to enhance the driver’s experience, which is and remains the focus. Tonale therefore comes with Uconnect 5, the company’s most advanced in-car technology, delivering faster operating speeds, new content and improved customization. Uconnect 5 also offers new convenience and connected services, keeping customers engaged and informed while drivers keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

Uconnect 5 allows users to create an exclusive home screen with a familiar feel. Customers can personalize the Uconnect home screen with frequently used features for quick and easy access via one-touch operation, much like a smartphone. Or if the vehicle is equipped with the new plug-in hybrid system, customers can monitor efficiency through a unique Hybrid Pages app on the center screen, all with one touch.

The new infotainment system also features several fully customizable interfaces, storing up to five different user profiles and featuring preferences for music and vehicle operation. The system also connects features to a driver’s profile, such as temperature, seating position and mirror placement. Switching between user profiles can be handled by a single touch.

Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto make it easy to stay connected to the vehicle, and wireless charging further simplifies the experience.

New over-the-air capabilities with Alfa Connect

Servicing and updating your Alfa Romeo has never been easier. The new Telematics Box Module (TBM) preps for growth and assists in quickly moving large amounts of data, engineered for the fastest speeds available. The trusted and secure ecosystem provides an optimal environment for continuous improvement through a built-in cellular network.

Alexa

Uconnect 5 brings Amazon Alexa directly into the Alfa Romeo Tonale, giving occupants the freedom to interact with Alexa from home to car and car to home. Using natural speak, occupants can ask Alexa to play music, podcasts and audiobooks; add items to their to-do list and check real-time information. Alexa’s responses use the vehicle’s audio system, allowing all passengers to interact.

Alfa Connect mobile app

With the available mobile app, a smartphone can start the engine, lock or unlock doors, and receive notifications. Inside the vehicle, SOS Call provides external assistance at the touch of a button. An automatic feature calls for outside assistance if the vehicle senses a crash has taken place. With Assist Call, owners can contact the Uconnect customer care team for help with their vehicle or instructions on using a Uconnect system. Stolen Vehicle Assistance helps police track a vehicle’s location and Family Drive Alerts deliver notifications to concerned parents when boundary, curfew or speed limits are exceeded. Owners can also receive a notification when someone else drives the vehicle while in Valet Alert mode.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)

Technology is also at the forefront of safety and comfort: Level 2 autonomous driving, with new advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), act in line with the Alfa Romeo philosophy. Here again, the software is at the center of the brand’s DNA, with the focus remaining on the driver. All the systems therefore work without ever interfering with the driver’s experience, where control and the emotions of driving remain intact. These include Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (IACC), Lane Centering (LC) and Traffic Jam Assist (TJA), which automatically adjust speed and trajectory, keeping the car in the middle of the lane and at a distance from the vehicle in front, thus ensuring safety and comfort. The Tonale is also equipped with other innovative devices and technologies that perfect the interaction between driver, vehicle and road, including Automatic Emergency Braking, which alerts the driver of danger and engages the brakes to avoid or mitigate any collision with a pedestrian or cyclist; Driver Attention Assist, which warns the driver if they become drowsy; Blind Spot Detection, which detects rear blind spots and signals any approaching vehicles to avoid collision; Rear Cross Path detection, which warns of vehicles approaching on the sides when reversing; and high-resolution 360° camera with dynamic grid.

Best-in-class driving dynamics

Tonale stands as a benchmark in the segment in terms of driving dynamics. It ensures sports car-like impeccable dynamic behavior, proven by the best weight distribution and the most direct steering in its segment (13.6:1 ratio), and the fact it is the only model in its class to be equipped with the Integrated Brake System (IBS) and available fixed aluminum shift paddles. The adoption of fixed calipers by Brembo, with four pistons and self-ventilated discs at the front and full discs at the rear, contributes to the improved braking performance. The Tonale opts for the fully independent MacPherson suspension system with Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) shock absorbers.

The available Dual Stage Valve active suspension features electronically controlled damping. In short, sitting behind the wheel of the new Tonale equates to an engaging driving experience that becomes an invitation to travel.

The advancement of electric drive modes in Tonale is managed by the exclusive Alfa DNA system that delivers optimized maneuvering and performance.

Through the DNA selector, the driver is also able to select one of the two available pre-set damping curves. “Comfort” allows for a more compliant ride and is a softer suspension calibration for rough roads and is the default suspension setting in the Advanced Efficiency and Normal drive modes. “Sport” stiffens the ride for ultimate cornering ability and better body control under spirited driving conditions and is the default suspension setting in the Dynamic and ESC Off drive modes.

Models

Three trim levels are available – Sprint, Ti and Veloce, all with clearly defined specifications that meet the needs of the most discerning customers. The Sprint trim, the gateway to the unique Alfa Romeo experience, can be customized with numerous options for a strong sporty connotation. The Ti trim enhances the Tonale’s qualities of elegance and distinctive character. The Veloce trim reaches the peak in terms of sporty character and luxury.

Production

The Alfa Romeo Tonale is built at the Giambattista Vico Stellantis plant in Pomigliano d’Arco, Naples, Italy – one of the company’s most advanced production sites – on a revamped production line dedicated to the new Alfa Romeo model, and a specially created, ultra modern assembly unit. Designed in 1968 by Alfa Romeo and operational since 1972, the industrial complex has produced 5 million cars to date and has won numerous international awards, including in 2012, World Class Manufacturing (WCM) Silver certification and the Automotive Lean Production award for best plant in Europe, followed in 2013 by the WCM Gold Medal and the level of the same name. Last year, the plant underwent a major refurbishment to meet the challenges of the future with the adoption of the most innovative technologies to build hybrid cars.

The 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale will begin arriving in showrooms throughout North America in the first quarter of 2023.

Alfa Romeo

Born in 1910 in Milan, Italy, Alfa Romeo has designed and crafted some of the most stylish and sporty cars in automotive history. That tradition lives on today as Alfa Romeo continues to take a unique and innovative approach to automobiles. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio sets a benchmark in performance, style and technology in an SUV. The award-winning Alfa Romeo Giulia delivers race-inspired performance, advanced technologies and an exhilarating driving experience to the premium midsize sedan segment. In early 2023, Alfa Romeo will offer its first compact SUV with the all-new Tonale. The globally available Tonale is part of a radical evolution taking place at Alfa Romeo, which looks ahead to a new era of electrification and connectivity. Alfa Romeo is part of the portfolio of brands offered by leading global automaker and mobility provider Stellantis. For more information regarding Stellantis (NYSE: STLA), please visit HERE.

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Hydrofoil article by Chalmers University of Technology via 360 MAGAZINE

Ships Fly Over Surface

Soon, electric passenger ferries skimming above the surface across the seas may become a reality. At Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, a research team has created a unique method for further developing hydrofoils that can significantly increase the range of electric vessels and reduce the fuel consumption of fossil-powered ships by 80 per cent.  

While the electrification of cars is well advanced, the world’s passenger ferries are still powered almost exclusively by fossil fuels. The limiting factor is battery capacity, which is not enough to power ships and ferries across longer distances. But now researchers at Chalmers and the marine research facility SSPA have succeeded in developing a method that can make the shipping industry significantly greener in the future. The focus is on hydrofoils that, like wings, lift the boat’s hull above the surface of the water and allow the boat to travel with considerably less water resistance. A technology that in recent years has revolutionised sailing, by which hydrofoils make elite sailors’ boats fly over the surface of the water at a very high speed.
The researchers at Chalmers and SSPA now want to enable the sailboats’ hydrofoil principle to be used on larger passenger ferries as well, resulting in major benefits for the climate.

“The electrification of ferries cannot be done without drastically reducing their water resistance. This method will allow the development of new foil designs that can reduce resistance by up to 80 per cent, which in turn would significantly increase the range of a battery powered ship. In this way, we could also use electric ferries on longer distances in the future,” says research leader Arash Eslamdoost, Associate Professor in Applied Hydrodynamics at Chalmers and author of the study Fluid-Structure Interaction of a Foiling Craft published in the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering.

Even for ships that today run on fossil fuels the climate benefit could be  significant, as similar hydrofoil technology could reduce fuel consumption by no less than 80 per cent.

Unique measurement method arouses broad interest
At the centre of the research project is a unique measurement technique that the researchers have put together in order to understand in detail how hydrofoils behave in the water when, for example, the load or speed increases or the positioning of the hydrofoil changes. Using the data collected from the experiments, the team has developed and validated a method to simulate and predict with great precision how the hydrofoil would behave under a variety of conditions. The method is unique of its kind and can now be used to develop the design of hydrofoils for electric powered hydrofoil ferries.

The study was conducted in collaboration with the research facility SSPA – one of only a few of its kind in the world – where Laura Marimon Giovannetti works as a researcher and project manager. She is the lead author of the study and has herself competed at the elite level for both the British and Italian national sailing teams. Today she is a research and development adviser to Sweden’s Olympic committee and the Swedish national team with her sights set on helping the team win more medals at the Olympics in 2024. Marimon Giovannetti sees many possibilities for the unique measurement method developed by the team:

“At the Americas Cup in San Francisco Bay in 2013, it was the first time we saw a 72-foot sailing boat learning how to “fly” using hydrofoils during the competition. And since then, we’ve seen a huge increase in sailing boats with hydrofoils. With this new method and knowledge we are able to bring together a range of different branches of engineering – naval architecture, advanced materials and aeronautics as well as renewable energy.”

Paving the way for hydrofoils on electric ferries
Hydrofoil technology is not in itself a novelty, but was developed as early as the 60s and 70s. Back then the focus was on getting boats to travel at as fast as possible and the hydrofoils were made of steel, a heavy material with higher maintenance costs. Today’s modern hydrofoils are made of carbon fibre, a much lighter and stiffer material that can maintain its rigidity even under high loads – and can be tailored to the expected loads. Part of the research project was therefore to fully understand how a carbon fibre structure behaves underwater during different operational conditions. The research team’s method developed in association with modern technology is now paving the way for the use of carbon fibre hydrofoils on larger passenger ships that can travel in a safe, controlled and climate-friendly way even at low speeds.

“You want the foil to be as efficient as possible, which means carrying as much weight as possible at as low a speed as possible with the least resistance. Our next goal is to use this method when designing more efficient hydrofoils for ferries in the future,” says Eslamdoost.

More about the scientific article

  • The study “Fluid-Structure Interaction of a Foiling Craft” has been published in the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. The authors are Laura Marimon Giovannetti, Ali Farousi, Fabian Ebbesson, Alois Thollot, Alex Shiri and Arash Eslamdoost. The researchers are active at SSPA (part of RISE Research Institutes of Sweden), Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and INP-ENSEEITH in France.
  • Hugo Hammar’s funding from SSPA and Rolf Sörman’s funding from Chalmers University of Technology provided the financial support to run the experimental tests at SSPA. This study also received funding from the Chalmers University of Technology Foundation for the strategic research project Hydro- and Aerodynamics.
rolls royce image for use by 360 magazine

ROLLS-ROYCE ELECTRIC HISTORY

ROLLS-ROYCE AND ELECTRIC POWER: A PROPHECY, A PROMISE AND AN UNDERTAKING

Electrification has long been promoted as the future of automotive propulsion. Mainstream manufacturers are increasingly embracing hybrid and battery electric vehicle (BEV) technology, supported by the expansion of national charging infrastructures.

To date, Rolls-Royce has communicated its electrification strategy in three simple statements:

  • The marque will introduce an all-electric car this decade (2020 – 2030).
  • This car will be a pure BEV, not a hybrid of any kind.
  • It will be launched only when the time is right, and every element meets Rolls-Royce’s technical, aesthetic and performance standards.

WHY ELECTRIC POWER?

The internal combustion engine (ICE) was not the only, nor the default, means of propulsion for early motor cars at the beginning of the 20th century. Indeed, in the early 1900s engineers and manufacturers initially divided their loyalties precisely between three competing technologies: the ICE, steam power and electricity.

Steam power, though well understood, relatively sophisticated and, at the time, ubiquitous in industry and other forms of transport, quickly proved less practical for use in motor cars. It therefore fell to internal combustion and electricity to vie for supremacy.

Electric power lost the battle for two main reasons: extremely limited range and the absence of a charging infrastructure. A century later, despite significant advances, these remain as barriers to widespread adoption (although increasingly less so), both in terms of technology and consumer perception.

But the characteristics that first drew engineers to electric power – silent operation, instant torque, tremendous power, and the absence of exhaust fumes – remain highly alluring, particularly for luxury motor cars. Indeed, some have speculated that, had he been able to solve the range and charging issues, Sir Henry Royce might have chosen electric power alone for his motor cars.

The innate and perfect suitability of electric power underpins the marque’s explicit commitment to deliver an all-electric Rolls-Royce this decade. In doing so, it can draw on a unique history and heritage; a connection with electric power that pre-dates the company itself, and featuring the main protagonists who would, between them, create the world’s most famous automotive brand – beginning with Sir Henry Royce himself.

SIR HENRY ROYCE

Born in 1863, Henry Royce was one of the world’s first electrical engineers. After his apprenticeship with the Great Northern Railway was cut short for family financial reasons, he worked briefly as a toolmaker at Greenwood & Batley in Leeds, where he first developed an interest in electrical power.

In 1881, he joined the Electric Light & Power Generating Company (EL&PG) in Southwark. During this time, he attended evening classes in electrics at the City & Guilds of London Institute, having received only a year of formal schooling as a child. A year later, aged just 19, he moved to the EL&PG’s new subsidiary, the Lancashire Maxim-Weston Electric Co. Ltd, as Chief Electrician, providing street and theatre lighting to the city of Liverpool. But within two years, the company folded, and the famously driven, hardworking Royce struck out on his own.

His new enterprise, F H Royce & Co, initially made small electrical appliances such as doorbells, lamps, fuses and switches. The business thrived, and was soon producing larger, more complex devices including dynamos, electric motors, and winches. In 1902, Royce supplied electric motors for Pritchett & Gold, a London-based battery-maker that had diversified into building electric cars.

Though Royce himself never built or owned an electric motor car, he created internal combustion engines that delivered the driving experience we associate with electric propulsion today: effortless torque, silent running and the sensation of one continuous, powerful gear. His technical expertise and pioneering achievements underpin the marque’s historical claim as a world leader in electrification in both luxury and social settings.

THE HONOURABLE CHARLES ROLLS

The Hon. Charles Rolls was also a highly gifted engineer; but his enthusiasm for electricity began even earlier in life. When he was just nine years old, he rigged up an electric bell between his bedroom and the stables at The Hendre, the family’s ancestral home in Monmouthshire. He also planned and supervised the installation of electricity in the servants’ quarters; deploying the powers of salesmanship that would later make him world-famous, he persuaded his father, Lord Llangattock, to pay for it.

Rolls’ passion for motor cars was equally precocious. In 1896, aged 18, he travelled to Paris and bought his first car, a 3¾ hp Peugeot Phaeton. Two years later, while still an engineering student at Cambridge, he acquired his only electric-powered car, an American-made vehicle called The Columbia Electric Carriage, imported into the UK by Paris Singer (heir to the sewing machine dynasty) and sold as the ‘City & Suburban’ car. Rolls regarded this as the best then available.

In an interview published in The Motor-Car Journal in April 1900, Rolls described electric propulsion, in terms that, over a century later, carry the ring of prescient prophecy:

The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean. There is no smell or vibration, and they should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged. But for now, I do not anticipate that they will be very serviceable – at least for many years to come.”

Rolls made his own small contribution to solving the problem, by providing a battery-charging station at his car showroom on Lillie Road in Fulham for the private or rentable electric Broughams that were all the rage in London at the time.

In 1904, Charles Rolls agreed to become an agent for the Contal Electromobile electric car. But on meeting Henry Royce and seeing his new motor car, he cancelled the agreement.

As he correctly predicted, it would be a long time before electric vehicles became truly viable on any scale. But it is tempting to think that had this visionary entrepreneur survived the air crash that claimed his life at the young age of just 32, the day might have come rather sooner.

A SERIES OF CONNECTIONS

While Rolls and Royce are immortalised as the founders, others, perhaps less well-known, were intimately and crucially involved in the events that led to the creation of the Rolls-Royce marque. They, too, were luminaries in the worlds of motoring and electric power around the beginning of the 20th century; history and the marque are indebted to all the following:

HENRY EDMUNDS

In his early career, Henry Royce worked for Brush Electrical Engineering Company Ltd, where he met Henry Edmunds, the company’s engineer. Edmunds earned his place in history when, on 4 May 1904 at the Midland Hotel in Manchester, he announced: “Mr. Royce, may I introduce you to Charles Rolls”.

The man who would be remembered by posterity as ‘The Godfather of Rolls-Royce‘ was a towering figure in his own right. A friend of Joseph Swan (the inventor of the incandescent lightbulb) and Thomas Edison (the inventor of almost everything else), he was a pioneer of electric lighting, traction and telephony, and was present at both the first successful sound recording and telephone call. He also brought into being the world’s first electrified underground railway, when he persuaded the engineer in charge of London’s City & Southwick Railway (now the City branch of the Northern Line) to operate trains powered by electricity rather than steam.

In 1888, Edmunds established W T Glover & Company, which became the world’s leading manufacturer of electricity cabling. In 1894, he supplied lighting cables for a vast dock complex and industrial estate (the world’s first) serving the Manchester Ship Canal: the lighting itself was designed and installed by Henry Royce.

No proof exists that Edmunds played any part in the development of Royce’s motor cars. He was, however, the most experienced motorist among Royce’s friends and colleagues, so presumably offered expert advice and encouragement as Royce painstakingly turned his ideas into reality.

E A CLAREMONT

Conventional wisdom states that Royce co-founded F H Royce & Co with a partner, E A Claremont. However, research has shown that Claremont joined the company some six months after its formation; Royce himself wrote, ‘I was induced to found… a small company in my own name’ and none but his was ever used.

While the original myth may be flawed, it is certainly true that the two men’s careers were closely entwined for many years. Claremont was a partner in F H Royce & Company, Joint Managing Director of F H Royce & Company Limited, Chairman of Royce Limited and the first Chairman of Rolls-Royce Limited; both were also Members of the Institute of Electrical Engineers.

CLAUDE JOHNSON

Broad-shouldered, extroverted and a talented salesman, Johnson was the self-styled ‘Hyphen in Rolls-Royce’. In 1903, he quit his role as secretary of the Automobile Club of Great Britain & Ireland – whose members included the previously mentioned Henry Edmunds – to work for Paris Singer’s City & Suburban Electric Carriage company.

After less than a year, however, Johnson left to join C S Rolls and Co, later becoming Managing Director of Rolls-Royce Ltd. He was responsible for much of the company’s early publicity: in advertisements produced for the UK and US markets, he described Rolls-Royce as ‘a petrol car as smooth and quiet as an electric’. And to complete the symmetry, Paris Singer became the world’s first owner of a Rolls-Royce motor car.

ELECTRIFICATION IN THE GOODWOOD ERA

In the spirit of these founding figures, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars remains an electrification pioneer today. When the first production fully electric Rolls-Royce reaches the market, it will be the culmination of research and development work that has been in progress at the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood, for well over a decade.

2011 – PHANTOM EE (102EX)

In 2011, the marque released Phantom Experimental Electric (EE), codenamed 102EX; a fully operational and road-legal battery-electric version of its pinnacle product.

Phantom EE was never intended for production, serving instead as a working test-bed for clients, VIPs, the media and enthusiasts to experience electric propulsion and share their experiences, thoughts and considerations directly with Rolls-Royce designers and engineers.

The car’s 6.75L V12 petrol engine and gearbox were replaced with a lithium-ion battery pack and two electric motors mounted on the rear sub-frame, connected to a single-speed transmission with integrated differential. This system gave a maximum power output of 290kW and torque of 800Nm, compared to 338kW and maximum torque of 720Nm, delivered at 3,500rpm, for the V12 Phantom of the time.

While Phantom EE drew widespread acclaim for its technical accomplishment, particularly its near-total silence and impressive torque delivery, its limited range, long charging cycles and three-year battery life remained significant hurdles that Rolls-Royce would need to address in order to satisfy the expectations of its clients.

2016 – ROLLS-ROYCE VISION NEXT 100 (103EX)

Launched in 2016, this radically innovative concept car set out to define the marque’s long-term vision of luxury mobility. It presented the motor car as offering truly individualized personal mobility, and an immersive emotional and sensory experience.

103EX was built around four key design tenets:

Coachbuilt bodywork will allow clients to commission a car that reflects their personal vision. A virtual assistant and chauffeur powered by artificial intelligence offer an effortless journey. The interior creates a Grand Sanctuary, crafted from rare and exclusive materials. And with its size and scale – 5.9 meters long and 1.6 meters high – the car ensures a Grand Arrival on reaching its destination.

Built on an advanced lightweight platform and powered by a proprietary, all-electric drive train, the motor car is completely autonomous.

The EX-suffix confirms that 103EX was a purely experimental car, never destined to enter production. Following a spectacular debut in London, the car embarked on a three-year world tour, returning to the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood in 2019.

Learn more about RR HERE.

HONDA TALKS EV


HONDA TO SHARE FUTURE ELECTRIFICATION PLANS FOR EUROPE AT AN EVENT IN AMSTERDAM

Honda announced a bold new target that will see all of its model ranges in Europe electrified by 2022, during an ‘Electric Vision’ event in Amsterdam. This timescale acceleration is three years ahead of the previously announced 2025 goal, with 6 new electrified models launching over the next 36 months.

At the event, the brand also unveiled the all-new Honda Jazz – with an e:HEV badge, featuring two-motor hybrid powertrain technology as standard for the first time. Unlike traditional hybrids, where the electric motor assists the engine, in e:HEV the engine produces electricity which assists the motor.

Tom Gardner, Senior Vice President, Honda Motor Europe, commented: “This shift to electrification will change the face of our model line-up considerably. Honda is the world’s largest engine manufacturer, and from what we have announced today we are committing to ending all mainstream non-electrified petrol and diesel production for Europe by the end of 2022.” Away from announcements about its automobile range, Honda also revealed the next step in its energy management business for Europe by announcing its collaboration with Vattenfall, a leading European energy supplier. In a letter of intent, signed on 23rd October 2019, the two companies confirmed their intentions to jointly develop and market a flexible electricity tariff that will allow EVs to be charged at the most cost-effective times, relative to grid demand.

The partnership marks a key milestone for Honda in the development of the energy management solutions business that represent an important pillar of its ‘Electric Vision’ strategy in Europe. The service will initially be launched in the UK and Germany in 2020, with other European countries to follow. 

Watch HERE.