The literal Rolls-Royce of EVs is recalled over fire risk

$423K luxury motor makes the Spirit of Ecstasy want to fly away

Mere months after launch, Rolls-Royce's Spectre EV is being recalled due to a faulty ground connection cable that could make the vehicle very hot stuff.

The Spectre is the British marque's first electric vehicle, and the ultra-luxury automaker looks to have hit a problem common to any manufacturer looking to enter a new field. Despite the fact the car costs more than many houses – it starts around $422,750 – some simple components aren't up to par.

"The ground connection cable between the front electric motor and the vehicle chassis may contain adhesive residue on the cable connector eyelet at the end of the cable which attaches to the electric motor," Rolls-Royce told the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in its recall notice. "This could lead to an increase in electrical resistance at this location and cause an insufficient ground connection."

According to the recall filing with the NHTSA, the issue affects Spectre vehicles manufactured between late October and early December 2023, at the assembly plant outside of Chichester in the UK.

The sticky cable could cause a short circuit in the front electrical motor, which Rolls-Royce said poses an injury risk to technicians working on Spectre vehicles, and "in an extremely rare case, it could increase the risk of a thermal event." That's a polite way of saying the sticky cable mean could see the very expensive electric coupé catch fire.

The recall notice indicates that 107 Rolls-Royce Spectre EVs in the US are affected. The vehicle maker's US head of communications Gerry Spahn told The Register that 316 Spectres are at risk, 137 of which have been sold to customers.

That doesn't mean they're all on the road, Spahn explained – only that they've been purchased. Many Spectre buyers may still be waiting for bespoke outfitting, and others will just be parking their purchases in climate-controlled garages to accrue value.

In all, 30 US-based clients have received their commissioned Rollers, Spahn revealed, leaving around 70 vehicles stateside that are still in transit or at ports, distribution centers, and dealerships. Some of those 30 are on the road, but we weren't given a specific number.

"Inspection and validation of affected Spectres has begun," Spahn told us. "All that needs to happen is for the bolt to be removed, cleaned of excess adhesive and reattached, so it should be pretty quick."

Recall notifications to dealers will go out on Thursday, while owners should be informed by March 15, the recall notice states.

Deliveries of the Spectre only began late last year, with self-described "mattress mogul and car collector" Michael Fux taking delivery of the first Spectre sold in the US in early November. While the Spectre may be the first, the entirety of Rolls-Royce's line will be electric by 2030, the luxury icon forecast in 2021.

For those waiting for a Spectre, Spahn told us the car currently has a waiting list of at least a year. And for those exclusive few with a Spectre on the road right now, Spahn told us the ultra-pricey EV is still perfectly safe to drive.

"The primary risk is to our technicians," Spahn clarified, adding that Rolls-Royce is taking action now to "make sure this doesn't pop back up later on and present a hazard" to those working on the cars.

Still, at that price, one would hope that a simple quality assurance check would have spotted the sticky cable that triggered the recall. Then again, we're living in the same reality in which Boeing can't properly tighten the bolts on a $129 million jet airliner, so we can't expect perfection from everyone – even Rolls-Royce. ®

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