There’s a good reason ‘rims’ are getting taller and narrower on electric cars.
Rolls-Royce has released the latest images of its upcoming Spectre electric car testing in Sweden, and revealed the vehicle will launch with some of the world’s biggest production wheels.
While those used during evaluation appear to be smaller, the luxury British brand – which is a subsidiary of BMW – confirmed in a statement its new model will be offered with 23-inch ‘rims’ at launch.
That’s bigger than any wheel offered on a contemporary coupe, and the equal largest on the market outright – with only a small handful of competitors offering comparable sizes on large flagship SUVs (however the Chevrolet Silverado EV ute will offer 24-inch alloys from 2023).
While prestige cars have always ridden on large alloys, tyre engineers at Pirelli have previously told Drive taller and narrower wheels are increasingly favoured for electric cars.
This is due to their reduced rolling resistance, improved ability to handle high torque loads during acceleration, and capacity to support increasingly heavy bodies.
The last time Rolls-Royce fitted bigger wheels to a two-door vehicle was on the 1923 Silver Ghost – exactly 100 years before the Spectre’s projected launch date – when the bodywork was still made from wood.
In the latest Spectre announcement Rolls-Royce also revealed its new lithium-ion battery pack has been designed to double as “700kg of sound deadening.”
Meanwhile, the electric powertrain and new tech features require more than 7km of cabling in total – up from 2km in existing petrol-powered models.
A somewhat-average – although impressive for the class – drag coefficient of 0.26 was reported during testing, presumably thanks (in a very small part) to a shortened and redesigned Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet ornament unveiled earlier this year.
Performance specifications are yet to be announced, however a spokesperson for the marque previously told Drive: “Nothing is more Rolls-Royce than being at the pinnacle end of the market … class-leading.”
This suggest a driving range of at least 800km is likely for the 2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre, as are outputs exceeding the outgoing 6.6-litre V12 petrol-powered Wraith’s 465kW/870Nm.
Some form of autonomous driving technology has also been confirmed by a spokesperson for the manufacturer, however details are so far thin on the ground.
At least 2.5 million kilometres of testing are promised before the first customer deliveries begin in the fourth quarter of 2023, and Rolls-Royce says it has now completed one quarter of that distance.
While pricing is yet to be announced, the marque will likely target near-parity with its $635,000 before on-road costs Wraith in Australia (which it indirectly replaces in the line-up).
To read previous stories about the 2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre click here. Click any of the images above to view the wider gallery.