Rolls-Royce announced Friday that its Spirit of Innovation electric plane, which accelerated to 387 mph during a recent flight test, is now the world’s fastest all-electric airplane.
The aerospace and technology company, which is spun off from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said its electric plane broke the previous speed record of 132 mph by about 2 miles on Tuesday at 345.4 mph.
Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East praised the spirit of innovation, the team behind the Accelerating the Electrification of Flight (ACCEL) project.
“Claiming the all-electric world-speed record is a major achievement for the ACCEL team and Rolls-Royce,” East said in a statement. “The advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this program has exciting applications for the advanced air mobility market. Following the world’s attention to the need for action at COP26, this is another milestone that will help make ‘Jet Zero’ a reality and supports our ambitions to deliver technology breakthroughs that can be fueled by society. There is a need to decarbonise transport by land and sea.
Several companies are now developing electric aircraft to convert airplanes to clean energy. Rolls-Royce – which is committed to developing all of its new products to meet net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, and all of its products at net zero by 2050 – first debuted in September in the Spirit of Innovation.
The spirit of innovation is driven by a more than 500 horsepower electric powertrain and propulsion battery pack that Rolls-Royce calls “the most power-intensive pack ever built in aerospace.”
The Spirit of Innovation program is funded by Rolls-Royce and the Aerospace Technology Institute in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.
The company has also joined hands with startup tech company Electroflight to develop the aircraft. Electroflight Managing Director Stojon Youngman called the spirit of innovation a “historic project”.
“Its success is a fitting tribute to the dedication and innovation of the Electroflight team and our suppliers. The development of the propulsion and battery system, in collaboration with experienced program partners, has resulted in a world-class engineering capability that will drive the decarbonization of air travel,” he said in the press release. “Our next step is to adapt this pioneering technology so that it can be applied to the wider aerospace industry to provide a more sustainable mode of flight.”
— Rolls-Royce (@RollsRoyce) November 19, 2021