Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 Concept Takes Luxury On A Higher Level +VIDEO
By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
LONDON - June 21, 2016: It is the first time in its 112 year history
that Rolls-Royce has developed a ‘purely visionary’ concept for
autonomous driving with the use of an electric driveline. The British super
luxury brand unveiled its Vision Next 100 concept during an event to
celebrate BMW’s Centenary in London, where its brother Mini also
showed its ideas for the future.
• SEE ALSO: BMW Group Unveils Mini and Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 Concepts.
The Rolls concept is based on a new lightweight platform that is most likely the one that was announced last year. This is not surprising because most super premium brands now use aluminum or carbon fiber-reinforced plastic. Also, competitor Bentley is working on lightweight solutions for upcoming models. What is amazing, however, is the design and the direction that Rolls-Royce is showing with the Vision concept.
The long body is very sleek and thus aerodynamic, but no value is mentioned for the coefficient of drag. The Vision Next 100 shows almost fully covered wheels, a sharp nose that will literally cut through the air and an elongated, sharp rear end, somewhat alike the extension of Daimler’s 2015 IAA Concept.
If you are looking from the front, you’ll see wishbones that could have been taken from a Formula 1 race car, but in the Rolls they are covered with carbon fiber material. A colleague said that the concept car looks like a catamaran and we indeed can share his opinion
The Rolls-Royce Vision Next 100 is meant to offer a glimpse into the future of the British brand’s super luxury mobility and the endless possibilities. As Rolls assumes that customers will not much change their needs for individual luxury, the brand will offer new creative possibilities to meet their wishes and produce bespoke ‘ haute couture’ mobility.
In order to be in the center of the customer’s life, the Rolls-Royce of, say 2040, should be widely individualized, from the hand built coach work to the interior that will be, as the company calls it, a "Grand Sanctuary" - a personal retreat.
The interior designers created the relaxed atmosphere with beautiful materials such as Macassar wood, a carpet of hand-twisted silk and soft silk upholstery. Information is displayed on a large OLED screen, but there undoubtedly will be something more fancy by then.
And being fully autonomous, the lack of a driver’s seat, steering wheel and instruments provide generous interior space, from where the passengers have a good view through a large panorama windscreen, which is a transparent OLED screen. If the passengers do not want to look outside, it can be used for thinks like viewing movies.
The passengers connect to the outside world through a virtual assistant called Eleanor, named after Eleanor Thornton, who inspired sculptor Charles Robert Sykes’ famous hood ornament, the Spirit of Ecstasy. On the Vision Next 100 Concept she is made from hand-cut crystal and illuminated from inside.
Using speech interaction, the passengers can call for the services of Eleanor, who can guide the passengers through their journey, taking care of the autonomous drive and fulfilling their wishes during the journey. The nearly 20 feet long concept is an extreme design, very aerodynamic, but with some features that we may see in the not too far future. Think of the side-hinged roof that opens entirely to allow the passengers to stand up before stepping out of the car and making a grand entrance onto the red carpet. My guess is that this can be realized soon, especially with the use of light weight materials, and that we may expect it in the next new Rolls-Royce super-saloon car.
Another nice feature that is possible with the use of an electric drive train, is the luggage compartment with a retractable cargo floor in the front ‘fender’. It also allows the cabin to extend much further to the rear.
Design Director Giles Taylor said that with the Vision Next 100, Rolls-Royce was deliberately not going back into the past, but to be as innovative as possible and at the same time to keep with the design history of the brand.
It'll be interesting to see how the typical Rolls-Royce customer of the future will behave, what will be the changes in preferences, and taste. But with the Vision Next 100 Concept, the Brits show courage to developing new ideas and realizing that in the future fewer and fewer people will still want be chauffeur-driven.