Rolls-Royce All-Electric Aircraft Smashes Speed Record, Clocks 387 MPH

Rolls-Royce fully electric aircraft, the Spirit of Innovation, took to the skies for the first time in September. Now, only two months later, the company says that the airplane managed to break multiple records that highlight its impressive capabilities, including a speed record that took it to 387,4 mph (623 kph).
Rolls-Royce Spirit of Innovation 8 photos
Photo: Rolls-Royce
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The tests were run at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site on November 16th. According to data gathered by Rolls-Royce, the Spirit of Innovation reached a top speed of 345.4 mph (555.9 kph) over 1,86 miles (3 km), breaking the current record by 132 mph (213 kph).

Another record was set when the aircraft, piloted by Electroflight pilot Steve Jones, flew at a speed of 330 mph (532 kph) on a 9,3-mile (15-km) distance. And the list of achievements doesn’t stop here. It took the airplane only 202 seconds to climb to 9,843 ft (3,000 meters).

Back in September, Rolls-Royce said that it would attempt to fly its aircraft at speeds of 300 mph (483 kph), but during its record-breaking runs, the Spirit of Innovation surpassed that, achieving a top speed of 387,4 mph (623 kph).

The company says that incredible speed would make the airplane the world’s “fastest all-electric vehicle.” For now, this is an unofficial record. Rolls-Royce won't open the champagne bottle just yet. The company has sent its data to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) and is awaiting certification for its achievements before opening the champagne bottle to celebrate the records.

The aircraft completed the recent tests powered by a 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain with the “most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft,” as Rolls-Royce describes it.

The records set did not only validate the innovative technology used on the Spirit of Innovation, but it also provided crucial information that the company plans to use in the future in propulsion systems for all-electric urban air mobility and hybrid-electric commuter aircraft.

Rolls-Royce seeks to integrate the advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for the Spirit of Innovation in future applications for electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles.

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About the author: Florina Spînu
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Florina taught herself how to drive in a Daewoo Tico (a rebadged Suzuki Alto kei car) but her first "real car" was a VW Golf. When she’s not writing about cars, drones or aircraft, Florina likes to read anything related to space exploration and take pictures in the middle of nature.
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