The Eco-friendly Rolls-Royce

The term “eco-friendly” would probably not be the first word that comes into your head when you think of Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce may indeed make the world’s finest cars, but manufacturers like Toyota and Lexus could argue that their hybrid vehicles are the greenest.

Yet in an interesting video interview with Ian Robertson, Chairman and CEO of Rolls-Royce Motors Ltd. Lou Ann Hammond on, an expert in alternative energy technologies, probes Mr Robertson for some details of Rolls-Royce’s environmental commitment.

There can be no doubt, that in this day and age of throw away products – use them then bin them. Rolls-Royce are leagues ahead of any other car manufacturer. Since 1904 when the first Rolls-Royce cars were produced, between 70 and 75 percent of the cars are still on the road! What is the life expectancy of the Prius or a G-Wiz? Are they designed for 100 000 miles or 100 years?

Update January 2022: Learn about the new all-electric Rolls-Royce.

When you take a look at how the latest generation of Phantoms are manufactured, then the eco-friendly Rolls-Royce argument is even more valid. The aluminium used in the production is all sourced from a hydro plant in Norway. The Goodwood Rolls-Royce factory has an eight acre living roof, storm water is recycled to help cool the building and the use of large windows reduces the factory’s use of energy for lighting. So although at first glance a Rolls-Royce would not be the vehicle to take on the next eco rally, in some ways it is up there with some of the most frugal vehicles.

The aluminium space-frame of the Phantom helps it achieve class leading fuel economy and CO2 emissions of any car in the ultra-luxury segment. Although a huge car, it weighs a fraction less than the Bentley Continental Flying Spur which helps make it very efficient – for it’s size.

When quizzed about future power plants for Rolls-Royce, Mr Robertson would not rule out even diesel engines, a rumour I have heard about the new “Baby Rolls” aka RR4 too. What would really be fabulous would be to see a fuel cell powered Rolls-Royce. BMW the parent company, have been hard at work developing the BMW Hydrogen 7. The trouble with hydrogen is that there is no nation wide distribution structure set up. Almost like the age old conundrum – which comes first – the chicken or the egg? This is a problem that will hopefully be addressed in years rather than decades, but I for one would love to see a hydrogen powered Rolls-Royce.