Rolls-Royce’s Electric Plane Breaks The World Speed Record
Rolls-Royce today announced that its Spirit of Innovation aircraft has officially become the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle. The ambitious aircraft attempted the feat in November, giving the British company the confidence that it had set a new record. However, the firm had to wait until now to receive confirmation from aviation bodies.
The Spirit of Innovation program seeks to pioneer sustainable aviation by proving the capabilities of electric flight. Overall, those behind the program are keen to enable a future of low-carbon air travel.
The plane first took off the Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down site in the English country of Wiltshire in September last year. A 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain helped the aircraft on its way, a piece of equipment that is backed by what is dubbed the most power-dense battery pack ever put together for a plane.
It didn’t take long for the vehicle to then go on to break records. On November, 16th, the aircraft reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph) over 3 km, beating the previous record by 213.04 km/h (132 mph). It also reached 532.1km/h (330 mph) over 15 km, which is a figure 292.8km/h (182 mph) quicker than the previous record holder.
Now, the FAI, also known as the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, has officially ratified the two records. The FIA is a historical organization that traces its roots back to 1905. It is a non-governmental and non-profit group with a mission to advance aeronautical and astronautical activities. In practice, it verifies world and continental records and helps set up competitions across the globe.
Rolls-Royce’s leadership is ecstatic about the achievements of the program. It is looking forward to paving the way for a new era in the aviation industry.
“Achieving the all-electric world-speed record is a fantastic achievement for the ACCEL team and Rolls-Royce. I would like to thank our partners and especially aviation start-up Electroflight, for their collaboration in achieving this pioneering breakthrough,” Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East shared in a company statement.
“The advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this programme has exciting applications for the Advanced Air Mobility market. This is another milestone that will help make ‘jet zero’ a reality and supports our ambitions to deliver the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea.”
Plenty to be excited about
Electric solutions are expected to revolutionize short-haul travel in the coming years. Along with standard commercial airlines, such as easyJet, keeping a close eye on the related technology, electric power sources based on that what Rolls-Royce is furthering will be the backbone of eVTOL networks, which are set to become the norm across many societies this decade.
The Spirit of Innovation project is part of the ACCEL (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight) project. Half of the program’s finances are supported by ATI (Aerospace Technology Institute). This organization collaborates with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.
So, with authorities on the same page as industry powerhouses, we can expect additional breakthroughs in sustainable travel in the next chapter. Altogether, aviation stakeholders are all eager to introduce a net-zero ecosystem.
What are your thoughts about the Spirit of Innovation officially breaking the world speed record? What do you make of the achievements of the aircraft? Let us know what you think of the overall program in the comment section.