All-electric Rolls Royce aircraft soars to break glass ceiling of mobility
Rolls Royce all-electric aircraft - Spirit of Innovation - successfully completed its first flight from the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down site, informed the company. The electric plane took off from the testing site and flew over it for 15 minutes. The plane has a 400kW electric powertrain that is capable of creating more than 500 hp power and claims to have a dense battery pack is a milestone for the aviation industry which is also aiming for decarbonisation.
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Roll Royce CEO Warren East shared that the test flight of the electric plane marks a great achievement for the Accelerating the Electrification of Flight (ACCEL) team and for Rolls Royce. “We are focused on producing the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea, and capture the economic opportunity of the transition to net-zero," he added. He also mentioned that the advanced battery and propulsion technology that has been developed for this programme will have greater application in the urban air mobility market leading the aviation industry towards a ‘jet zero’ reality.
The ACCEL programme includes key partners such as YASA, the electric motor and controller manufacturer, and the aviation start-up Electroflight. Half of the project is funded by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), together with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.
Aerospace Technology Institute CEO Gary Elliott shared that this first flight of the Spirit of Innovation shows that innovative technology will give solutions for some of the world’s biggest challenges. “The ATI is funding projects like ACCEL to help the UK develop new capabilities and secure a lead in the technologies that will decarbonise aviation," he further added.
Rolls Royce will also be offering a complete electric propulsion system for the programme's platform, whether that is an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) or commuter aircraft. In addition to that, Rolls Royce and airframer Tecnam are currently working with Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Scandinavia, to deliver an all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market. This electric passenger aircraft is expected to be ready for revenue service by 2026.