Rolls-Royce's 'Spirit of Innovation' is the world's fastest electric plane
Rolls-Royce's Spirit of Innovation has been crowned the world's fastest electric aircraft by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). The Switzerland-based agency that certifies aeronautical and astronautical records, has verified two feats accomplished by the airplane last November. The record-setting aircraft is propelled by a 400kW electric powertrain and packs "the most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in aerospace."
Take a look at the announcement
Why does this story matter?
- While electric vehicles are becoming mainstream, air travel is overwhelmingly dependent on the usage of fossil fuels.
- In this case, the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Innovation's record-setting flight is a big win for emission-free air transportation.
- Its technology has potential applications for the emerging air mobility market via electric airplanes once the costs go down a bit.
Here's a look at the records
Rolls-Royce's Spirit of Innovation hit a maximum speed of 555.9km/h over 3km. This is 213.04km/h more than the earlier record set by the Siemens eAircraft's Extra 330 LE Aerobatic model in 2017. The Rolls-Royce's aircraft also attained a top-speed of 532.1km/h over 15km, which is 292.8km/h more than the previous record. It also hit a maximum peak speed of 623km/h.
The venture has been funded by the UK government
Rolls-Royce Spirit of Innovation was developed under the brand's Accelerating the Electrification of Flight project. The venture has been funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK and Aerospace Technology Institute. The plane has a sleek look, with space for a single passenger, a blue nose, and a propeller at the front. It also bears the brand's logos.
'The project can make zero-emission air travel a reality'
"The advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this program has exciting applications for the Advanced Air Mobility market," said Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce. "This will help make 'jet zero' a reality and supports our ambitions to deliver technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonize transport across air, land, and sea," he added.