In every way, electric power makes more sense when it comes to luxury vehicles as a spot of amateur wedding chauffeuring proved.

When Rolls-Royce announced its first fully electric motor car, the wonderfully named Spectre, it ended the luxury car chapter as we know it.

For years, legacy brands have persisted with internal combustion vehicles, while disruptors like Tesla and Lucid attempted to usher in a new dawn characterised by effortless torque and serene silence. And then, one by one, the old guard began to listen.

The Spectre isn’t the first luxury electric vehicle, but it is the first from the world’s definitive luxury car brand. But unlike other EVs, the Spectre wasn’t designed to pander to the likes of Al Gore or Greenpeace. You won’t find any evidence of environmental virtue-signalling anywhere in the Spectre’s press release – the terms sustainability, carbon footprint, or eco-friendly do not appear even once. There is a good reason for this: Rolls-Royce didn’t create the Spectre to prevent the world from becoming an overpopulated sauna. It created the Spectre to be the best luxury vehicle ever made. It just happens to be powered by electricity rather than petrol.

Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come. The petrol-powered luxury car is dead. Long live electric luxury vehicles.

Rolls-Royce’s co-founder, Charles Stewart, predicted this day over a century ago by saying: “The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean. There is no smell or vibration. They should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged”.

He was, of course, completely right. Electric powertrains are perfectly suited for implementation in luxury vehicles. When it comes to driver engagement, electric cars tend to lack the panache of their combustion-powered counterparts. However, when it comes to being driven, electric cars reign supreme. At least that’s the theory.

To test this, I volunteered to spend over a week driving around in Genesis’ marvellous Electrified G80 sedan. There’s no denying it’s a proper luxury saloon – whether you’re considering how it looks, its extensive list of features, or its $145,000 price tag. During my time with it, I travelled over 630km and took every opportunity to chauffeur people, including even for a wedding.

Without fail, everyone who had the privilege of sitting in the delicious Nappa leather seats in the rear of the Electrified G80 said one of three things. “Can you stop flooring it? I’m about to be sick” was hardly surprising to hear my passengers squeal as 700Nm of torque and a lead-foot will do that. “It’s rather lovely back here” is something that’s a bit of an understatement. The third, and perhaps most telling comment, was to ask “is this a Bentley?”

As a car to be driven in, the Electrified G80 proved to be utterly superb. The conventional, non-electric G80 is an impressive and properly sexy luxury car in its own right, but this electric model is even better. Just like Charles Stewart foreshadowed, there were fewer noises and vibrations. With no gearbox to interrupt the flow of speed or engine to announce itself under throttle, it proved to be a chauffeur’s dream.

Then there is the case of interior space. Free from the packaging restraints that come with having to fit an engine under the bonnet, electric luxury vehicles have more freedom to prioritise interior space. While the Electrified G80 doesn’t utilise a bespoke platform – ironically, the EV retrofit has robbed it of some boot space – ground-up EVs like the Lucid Air and Mercedes EQS do. The result in those is more interior legroom and happier rear passengers.

The true test of a luxury car’s worth, however, is how tired its occupants feel after riding in it for some time. In the Electrified G80, everyone arrived at their destination feeling more refreshed than when they had set off – an important consideration when the person in the back seat is preparing themselves to say “I do”. That’s not to say they would have emerged from the petrol version bathed in sweat and only partially conscious, but the tranquillity of the electric powertrain was immediately impressive to anyone who had spent considerable time in petrol-powered luxury vehicles.

Are we witnessing the death of the internal combustion engine? No. There will always be people who prefer the engagement of driving a car with a ‘proper’ engine and gearbox. However, for those who would rather be driven, the writing is on the wall. Revelation is here. Charles Stewart’s prophesy has been fulfilled. The electric luxury chauffeur revolution has begun.

Noah Charalambous
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