If you’re of baby-boomerish age, you might remember hearing about the controversy Bob Dylan caused when he ‘went electric’ at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. Having been dubbed the voice of the folk music generation, Dylan threw it all in their faces and plugged in for an electric set in an act that has its own Wikipedia article.
Today, we’d like to nominate the following story for the biggest ‘going electric’ news since 1965. According to BMWBlog.com (which is not an official BMW blog, but highly regarded none-the-less), after many rumours and hushed whispers in automotive circles, BMW has confirmed that Rolls Royce cars are going electric.
According to the article, Peter Schwarzenbauer, a BMW board member said “We’re getting more and more questions from Rolls-Royce drivers, asking when can they expect electric versions. We are working on electrification.”
Regardless of whether you’re a gas-powered traditionalist, or an electric vehicle pioneer, the news that Rolls Royce is going electric brings to mind one big question
How does the most luxurious and iconic car marque in the world disrupt everything that made it what it is – like V12 power and a grill that some call an ‘untouchable’ design icon (no grill needed on an all-electric vehicle) – and stay true to its heritage?
Perhaps the Most Forward-Thinking Idea of All
It’s definitely not an easy question to answer. While other classic marques like Jaguar and Aston Martin can simply whip up a new model that’s hybrid or all-electric, has there ever been a Rolls Royce automobile whose form hasn’t flowed from that beautifully massive grill? Even the BMWBlog says “any change in the design of a Rolls will definitely be polarizing.”
Are the Answers with the Drivers?
In what might be one of their most brilliant marketing ideas, Rolls Royce has turned to the very source of the demand for electrification to find answers. The people who drive Roll Royces. “We’re involving a lot of customers now to answer this question: If you have an electric Rolls-Royce, does it have to look different?” Schwarzenbauer said.
If there are going to be any changes to its iconography, changes that could be controversial, what better way to do it than to get buy-in from their very own customers on exactly what those changes should be.