Rolls-Royce’s all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft has managed to reach a maximum speed of 623 km/h (387.4 mph), which the company believes makes it the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle.
The company has submitted three claims for world records to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). During its record-breaking runs at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site, the aircraft reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph) over 3 kilometers, smashing the existing record by 213.04 km/h (132mph). Another record was set when the aircraft achieved 532.1km/h (330 mph) over 15 kilometers – 292.8km/h (182mph) faster than the previous record. The list of achievements doesn’t stop here – it also broke the fastest time to climb to 3000 meters by 60 seconds with a time of 202 seconds.
Back in September, the Spirit of Innovation aircraft took to the skies for the first time when the company said it would attempt to fly its aircraft at speeds of 300 mph (480 km/h). However, the aircraft surpassed that during its record-breaking run, achieving a maximum speed of 623 km/h (387.4 mph).
The aircraft was propelled on its test run by a 400 kW (500 hp) electric powertrain and “the most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in aerospace,” the company says. The record set also provided crucial information that the company plans to use in its future power and propulsion systems for all-electric urban air mobility and hybrid-electric commuter aircraft.
The Spirit of Innovation is part of the ACCEL or ‘Accelerating the Electrification of Flight’ project. The partners in the initiative include aviation energy storage specialist Electroflight and automotive powertrain supplier YASA.