Aircraft

Ground testing completed for Rolls-Royce ACCEL electric aircraft tech

Ground testing completed for R...
The ionBird testing rig
The ionBird testing rig
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The ACCEL project plane
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The ACCEL project plane
The ionBird testing rig
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The ionBird testing rig

Last year, we heard how Rolls-Royce was developing what it claims will be the world's fastest electric airplane, the ACCEL. Now, the company has announced that it has completed ground testing of the technology that will be used in the aircraft.

To recap our previous coverage, plans call for the single-seater ACCEL to incorporate three axial 750R electric motors in its 500-hp powertrain. Power will be provided by a battery pack consisting of over 6,000 individual cells, offering a range of 200 mi (320 km) on a single charge.

Rolls-Royce claims that the plane's top speed should be over 300 mph (480 km/h).

The technology has now been tested in a full-scale replica of the aircraft's core, called the ionBird. This name pays tribute to the term "iron bird," which describes the propulsion-testing rigs traditionally used in the development of conventional aircraft.

The ACCEL project plane
The ACCEL project plane

The ground testing involved running the propeller up to its full speed of approximately 2,400 rpm, optimizing the performance of the system, and gathering data for further analysis.

ACCEL should be making its first flight later this year, with its attempt at a record-breaking flight scheduled for early next year.

"The completion of ground-testing for the ACCEL project is a great achievement for the team and is another important step towards a world record attempt," says Rob Watson, director of Rolls-Royce Electrical.

The ionBird can be seen in action, in the video below.

Source: Rolls-Royce

Rolls Royce ACCEL ground testing

7 comments
windykites
There is a surprising amount of propeller noise. Is this inefficiency?
Edward Vix
Indeed, very noisy!
Kpar
Propellor tip noise is one of the biggest noisemakers- it is often louder than the engine exhaust. That is why this sounds so conventional. The tips are moving at close to Mach one. Ducted fans are one way to reduce noise and improve efficiency. You may have noticed that the US Navy uses ducted fan technology on its new submarines.
Signguy
It's the same effect with electric cars; it's the TIRES that make the noise. So the PROP is what's noisy.
buzzclick
I too always thought the noise came from the engines. Most electric motors turn at 1750rpm, so this rig is turning just about 30% faster, but you'd think that airplane props turn A LOT faster. At 300mph with a 200 mile range. It gives me a vision of electric fighters getting a charge in the air, like the ones the Air Force uses for fighter jets. lol
2wheelfun
When reading the article I was hoping Rolls Royce was coming into the game with some skin in the game of electric aerospace. All they did is bought the work that Siemans was working on and continuing the development. Nothing great and new here. Same stuff just with different name, look at youtube videos of siemans of this same package since 2013
ljaques
Pretty bird! I'll be happy to see the performance flights when they're ready.