Rolls-Royce has announced that their all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft has established two new world records that have now been independently confirmed, making it the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft.
The aircraft reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph) over 3 kilometres on November 16, 2021, shattering the previous record by 213.04 km/h (132mph). Further flights at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site saw the aircraft reach 532.1km/h (330 mph) over 15 kilometres, breaking the previous record by 292.8km/h (182 mph). The Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), the Global Air Sports Federation that supervises and certifies world aeronautical and astronautical records, has officially confirmed both records.
Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce, said: “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. 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.”
The company, which supplies the jet engines for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus 350, is on the hook to deliver two electric aviation propulsion systems in the very near future: one for an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle that will carry up to four passengers in 2024, and another for a small commuter plane with Nordic regional airline Widerøe.