Luxury automaker Rolls-Royce could soon begin building hybrid cars. According to Auto Express, the automaker is likely to begin making its first plug-in hybrid within three years — a claim strongly backed up by Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Otvos' thoughts on hybrid technology. "It will be essential in two years," he tells Auto Express, "maybe not from customer demand but through legal regulation on emissions." While Müller-Otvos doesn't say exactly where regulations will be stringent enough to mandate this in two years, many countries and states have begun tightening emission allowances on vehicles, so it may only be a matter of time.

This wouldn't be Rolls-Royce's first venture away from gas though: it previously experimented with an all-electric concept car, but it received a tepid response. "A Rolls-Royce cannot come with any kind of compromise," Müller-Otvos tells Auto Express of the electric car, "and both the recharging times and the range were not acceptable for our buyers." Apparently, that's not the case for modern hybrids though, "With hybrid technology that is no longer a problem," Müller-Otvos says. As Auto Express points out, Rolls-Royce's parent, BMW, is already far along in developing a plug-in hybrid drive — and that may give Rolls-Royce a big piece of what it needs to get this technology into its cars.