Rolls-Royce’s ‘Spirit of Innovation’ Officially Breaks Record as World’s Fastest Electric Vehicle
Rolls-Royce has today announced that their ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft has officially been named the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft, having set two independently confirmed world records.
On Thursday (January 20, 2022), Rolls-Royce announced that their ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft has officially been named the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft, after setting two new independently confirmed world records. On November 16, 2021 at GMT 15:45, the aircraft reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph) over a distance of three kilometers, smashing the existing record by 213.04 km/h (132 mph). During additional runs at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site, the aircraft achieved 532/1 km/h (330 mph) over 15 kilometers, 292.8 km/h (182 mph) faster than the previous record. Both records have now been officially verified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, the World Air Sports Federation that controls and certifies aeronautical and astronautical records. The aircraft, which is also part of the UK Government backed ACCEL (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight) project, also clocked a top speed of 623 km/h (387.4 mph), making it the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle.
In Thursday’s announcement, Rolls-Royce’s CEO, Warren East, 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.”
Rolls-Royce's All-Electric 'Spirit of Innovation' - Courtesy Rolls-Royce
The Spirit of Innovation’s speed record was achieved by Rolls-Royce’s test pilot and Director of Flight Operations, Phill O’Dell, and was more than 213.04 km/h (132 mph) faster than the previous record set by the Siemens eAircraft powered Extra 330 LE Aerobatic aircraft in 2017.
Commenting on his record breaking flights, Phill O’Dell said,
“Breaking the world-record for all-electric flight is a momentous occasion. This is the highlight of my career and is an incredible achievement for whole team. The opportunity to be at the forefront of another pioneering chapter of Rolls-Royce’s story, as we look to deliver the future of aviation, is what dreams are made of.”
The Spirit of Innovation was powered on its record breaking flights by a 400 kW (500+ hp) electric powertrain and the most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in the aerospace industry. Rolls-Royce also worked in collaboration with aviation energy startup Electroflight, as well as automotive powertrain supplier YASA on the aircraft. Data from the Spirit of Innovation will be used in the development of future electric power and propulsion systems for all-electric urban air mobility (UAM) vehicles, as well as hybrid-electric commuter aircraft.