New Rolls-Royce electrical plane completes taxiing milestone
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New Rolls-Royce electrical plane completes taxiing milestone

New Rolls-Royce electrical plane completes taxiing milestone

The first flight is planned for spring 2021 at a speed of more than 300mph.


An electric plane being developed by Rolls-Royce has completed a taxiing manoeuvre, a critical test of the integration of the aircraft’s propulsion system ahead of flight-testing.

The ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft propelled along a runway in the UK, powered by a 500hp [400kw] electric powertrain and the latest energy storage technology.

The first flight is planned for spring of 2021 at an anticipated speed of more than 300mph, which Rolls-Royce says will be a new world speed record for electric flight. Eventually, Rolls-Royce hopes to launch an urban air mobility aircraft or air taxi.

“Electrification of flight is an important part of our sustainability strategy as we aim for net-zero carbon by 2050,” said Rob Watson, director, Rolls-Royce Electrical.

“Taxiing of the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is an incredible milestone for the ACCEL team as we progress to the first flight and the world-record attempt later this year. For the first time, the plane propelled itself forward using the power from an advanced battery and propulsion system that is ground-breaking in terms of electrical technology.”

Read: The EQC – The Mercedes-Benz of electric cars

Other partners in the project dubbed ACCEL include YASA, an electric motor and controller manufacturer and aviation start-up Electroflight. Half of the project’s funding is provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.

Rolls-Royce hopes to bring motor, power electronics and battery technology developed as part of the ACCEL project into the general aerospace, urban air mobility and small commuter aircraft sectors as part of its broader electrification strategy. The engineering giant aims to achieve net-zero carbon in its operations by 2050.


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