Don’t get it twisted: the future is electric. And if Rolls-Royce’s Spirit of Innovation is anything to go by, the future is also bloody quick.
Propelled by a very powerful electric powertrain capable of generating 535 BHP with the “most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft“, this bad boy clocked an impressive top speed of 387.4 mph (623 km/h) during test runs held at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down facilities – setting three new world records in the process. The figures submitted are, however, still pending verification by the World Air Sports Federation.
Rolls-Royce has indicated Spirit of Innovation was more than 132 mph (213.04 km/h) faster than the previous record set by the Siemens’ Extra 330 LE Aerobatic circa 2017, achieving the following benchmarks:
- Reaching 345.4 mph (555.9 km/h) over 1.9 miles (3 kilometres)
- Reaching 330 mph (532.1 km/h) over 9.3 miles (15 kilometres)
- Fastest time to climb 9,842.52 feett (3,000 metres) by 60 seconds at just 202 seconds
“The first flight of the Spirit of Innovation is a great achievement for the ACCEL team and Rolls-Royce,” says Warren East, CEO of 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.”
“This is not only about breaking a world record – the advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this programme has exciting applications for the Urban Air Mobility market and can help make ‘jet zero’ a reality.”
“Spirit of Innovation demonstrates how innovative technology can provide solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges,” says Gary Elliott, CEO of Aerospace Technology Institute.
“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. We congratulate everyone who has worked on the ACCEL project to make the first flight a reality and look forward to the world speed record attempt which will capture the imagination of the public in the year that the UK hosts COP26.”
Watch the all-electric sky bird in action above.