Thursday 19 December 2019 2:11 pm

Rolls-Royce unveils electric plane for world record attempt

Rolls-Royce have unveiled the plane it hopes will break the world record for the fastest all-electric aircraft.

The plane, which was revealed at Gloucestershire Airport today, is expected to make its record attempt early next year.

Read more: World’s first fully electric commercial flight takes off in Canada

The current record speed stands at 210 miles per hour, which was set by Siemens in 2017.

Rolls-Royce hopes to surpass 300 miles per hour when it makes its run for glory in the spring.

The plane is part of a Rolls-Royce initiative called Accel – short for “Accelerating the Electrification of Flight” and is a key part of Rolls-Royce’s strategy to champion electrification. 

The project involves a host of partners including electric motor and controller manufacturer Yasa and the 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 and Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.

Rob Watson, director of Rolls-Royce Electrical said: “Building the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft is nothing less than a revolutionary step change in aviation and we are delighted to unveil the ACCEL project plane. 

“This is not only an important step towards the world-record attempt but will also help to develop Rolls-Royce’s capabilities and ensure that we are at the forefront of developing technology that can play a fundamental role in enabling the transition to a low carbon global economy.”

Business minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “The UK has a proud heritage and enviable worldwide reputation for advances in aviation technology. 

“The electrification of flight has the potential to revolutionise the way we travel and transform aviation for decades to come – ensuring we can travel worldwide while maintaining a low carbon footprint.”

Accel will have the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft, providing enough energy to fuel 250 homes or fly 200 miles (London to Paris) on a single charge.

During the record run the all-electric system will delivers power with 90 per cent energy efficiency and zero emissions.

Read more: Electric powered regional flights could be taking off by 2030

In comparison, a Formula 1 race car tops out at close to 50 per cent energy efficiency.

Over the next couple of months, Rolls-Royce will run tests including running the propulsion system up to full power as well as key airworthiness checks.

Main image credit: Rolls Royce