Rolls-Royce recently completed the taxiing of its ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft, the world’s fastest all-electric plane. The plane powered by a 500hp [400kw] electric powertrain can do 300 mph top speed and the latest energy storage technology developed to set world speed records is being made to enable a new generation of urban air mobility concepts. We got in touch with Matheu Parr, Project Head, ACCEL, Roll-Royce to understand this new speed record and the idea behind this attempt. Watch our video here-
The taxiing of the plane is a critical test of the integration of the aircraft’s propulsion system, ahead of actual flight-testing. The first flight is planned for the Spring and when at full power the combination of electrical powertrain and advanced battery system will power the aircraft to more than 300mph, setting a new world speed record for electric flight.
The ACCEL programme, short for ‘Accelerating the Electrification of Flight,’ includes key partners YASA, the electric motor and controller manufacturer, and aviation start-up Electroflight. Half of the project’s funding is provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.
The characteristics that ‘air-taxis’ require from batteries are very similar to what is being developed for the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ so that it can reach record-breaking speeds. Rolls-Royce will be using the technology from the ACCEL project and applying it to products for the market.
The ACCEL project is part of Rolls-Royce’s journey towards net zero carbon by 2050.