Rolls Royce has earned its reputation as one of the world’s most esteemed luxury car brands. It’s also come up with some innovative designs and integrated cutting edge technology into its vehicles, and the masses can always count on Rolls Royce to introduce incredible concept cars every now and then. However, the latest concept from the brand, the 103EX, is very different.
“Different” is actually an understatement as the Rolls Royce 103EX is not only unlike anything seen in the auto industry, it’s not even practical for this day and age. There’s a reason behind that, however: the 103EX is supposed to give us all a look at what luxury car ownership will be like several decades from now.
The Rolls Royce 103EX is big — very big. It’s supposed to be the means to make a grand entrance, and it definitely does. The 103EX is imposing and wherever it goes, one can’t help but notice its presence. It measures 19.4 feet in length, is about five feet tall, has a front end that seems too long for its own good, and there’s glass at every angle of the car. In addition, its large wheels are half covered. Why? The reasoning behind that isn’t clear, but it sure looks distinctive. The 103EX also has a monstrous grille that’s much larger than Rolls Royce has ever used before.
Size aside, the appearance of the 103EX’s exterior is equally confusing and impressive, and there’s no obvious rhyme or reason for the concept’s design. It would be an excellent choice for a getaway car or futuristic vehicle in a sci-fi blockbuster, but the 103EX really doesn’t have a place on today’s roadways. Perhaps Rolls Royce figures the highways and streets of tomorrow will be vastly different? They’ll have to be to accommodate this car if it ever comes to fruition and the production line.
No Engine Required
The Rolls Royce 103EX is fully electric, with one motor to drive the front wheels and a second motor to drive the rear wheels. There’s absolutely no engine anywhere under the hood of the car. There is, however, a set of custom luggage where the engine would normally be. Why? So the wealthy of the future will be able to command that their luggage suddenly appear from behind the front wheel of the car, eliminating the need to hand it off to the baggage handlers themselves. This is probably the most ostentatious feature of the 103EX, and that’s saying something as there are plenty.
You Could Stand In It
Every inch of the Rolls Royce 103EX is uniquely designed, including the panoramic roof. This particular feature is comprised of one solitary piece that is side hinged, which allows passengers to fully stand up. When it’s time to exit the car, passengers don’t have to stoop over at all. The video that Rolls Royce released to coincide with the introduction of the 103EX shows people casually standing fully erect inside of the vehicle. Currently, no car in the real world allows passengers to do such a thing, but it seems like a nice touch for a luxury ride of the future.
Modern and Minimalist
Look inside of any Rolls Royce on the market today and you’ll see an interior with lavish details and a wealth of amenities. It’s the epitome of luxury and what the Rolls Royce brand is all about, but apparently luxury will look different in the future. The inside of the Rolls Royce 103EX looks rather bare. Yes, there’s still the feeling of opulence. However, the bells and whistles aren’t in your face, which is odd given the car’s exterior and mammoth proportions.
The two seater’s interior is supposed to be a retreat in and of itself, with no clutter and a very spacious, flowing feel. A two seat couch accommodates passengers and is upholstered in silk, and exotic wood panels are in abundance — it looks more like an expensive shell than it does the inside of a vehicle. The handcrafted carpet of the Rolls Royce 103EX is made of the finest silk that money can buy. It’s a strange choice for car flooring, but we’re supposed to be thinking ahead when we look at this concept. Maybe the wealthy of the future will have shoes with self cleaning soles to keep the 103EX’s carpet from getting dirty — only time will tell.
Aside from the silk seat and carpet, there’s not much else inside the Rolls Royce 103EX but an analog clock and a media screen. Just as there is no engine, there’s also no steering wheel. How does it drive, then? Eleanor takes care of that.
Most people who are familiar with Rolls Royce vehicles know about the Spirit of Ecstasy, the little statue sitting on the hood. The introduction of this new concept has finally given us a name to put with the “face”: Eleanor. In the Rolls Royce 103EX Eleanor isn’t just the name of an illuminated hood ornament, it’s an entire system that caters to passengers’ every need. As a virtual assistant, Eleanor is designed to not only get the car’s riders around town but learn about their interests and anticipate their wants based on their habits.
Rolls Royce calls Eleanor an “ethereal concierge”, and she not only handles the operation of the vehicle but responds to voice commands. As she shuttles her passengers around, the AI trains itself to know favorite routes, stops, restaurants, and more. This particular feature of the 103EX is part of Vision Next 100, an advent of Rolls Royce’s parent company, BMW.
Though the Rolls Royce 103EX doesn’t scream practical, it is in full alignment with BMW’s philosophy of the future. It’s fully automated, has an all-electric drive, and emits zero-emissions — this is what the brand believes the auto industry will turn to in the coming decades. Of course, no one can say today whether BMW’s hunch is right. For now, however, we can all just look at the 103EX and muse on what the automaker will come up with next.