Rolls-Royce 300mph all-electric plane set for the sky

Posted on September 25, 2020 by Alistair Hardaker

Rolls-Royce has completed testing of technology which is said to power the world’s fastest all-electric plane.

The car giant said all the technology has been tested on a full-scale replica of the plane’s core, called an ‘ionBird’, including a 500hp electric powertrain powerful enough to set world speed records and a battery with enough energy to supply 250 homes.

The plane is part of a Rolls-Royce initiative called ACCEL, short for ‘Accelerating the Electrification of Flight’.

The firm’s ACCEL project team includes key partners YASA, the electric motor and controller manufacturer, and aviation start-up Electroflight.

The systems will soon be integrated into its ‘Spirit of Innovation’ plane, named ‘ionBird’, after the zero-emission energy source propelling the aircraft.

UK Business and Industry Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “From trains to planes, our transport of the future will be powered by clean, electric sources – with companies like Rolls-Royce developing the tech to help meet our net zero ambitions.

“The completion of ground-testing for the government-backed ACCEL project is not only a step towards an exciting world record attempt, but a leap towards developing all-electric and hybrid-electric planes that one day could ferry large numbers of passengers around the world.”

 

The dedicated team have tested  the propeller up to full speed (approximately 2,400 rpm) using the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for aircraft propulsion.

When at full power during the flight-testing phase, it will propel the aircraft to more than 300mph setting a new world speed record for electric flight, Rolls Royce said.

Rob Watson, Director – Rolls-Royce Electrical, added: “Rolls-Royce is committed to playing a leading role in reaching net zero carbon by 2050. The completion of ground-testing for the ACCEL project is a great achievement for the team and is another important step towards a world record attempt.

“This project is also helping to develop Rolls-Royce’s capabilities and ensure that we remain a leader in delivering the electrification of flight, an important part of our sustainability strategy.”

Bremont, will be the official timing partner for the all-electric speed record attempt. The British luxury watch maker has also helped develop the design of the plane’s cockpit which will feature a stopwatch, while the company has machined canopy release parts at its Henley-on-Thames manufacturing facility.

 

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