Aircraft

Rolls-Royce's electric plane hits 387 mph to lay claim as world's fastest

Rolls-Royce's electric plane h...
The Rolls-Royce Spirit of Innovation in action
The Rolls-Royce Spirit of Innovation in action
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The Rolls-Royce Spirit of Innovation in action
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The Rolls-Royce Spirit of Innovation in action
The Spirit of Innovation was clocked at a top speed of 623 km/h (387.4 mph), according to Rolls-Royce
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The Spirit of Innovation was clocked at a top speed of 623 km/h (387.4 mph), according to Rolls-Royce
The Spirit of Innovation took to the skies at a UK Ministry of Defence testing site last week
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The Spirit of Innovation took to the skies at a UK Ministry of Defence testing site last week
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An aircraft developed by Rolls-Royce to smash the speed record for an all-electric plane looks to have done just that, within three years of being announced. The Spirit of Innovation took to the skies at a UK Ministry of Defence testing site last week where it reached a maximum speed of 623 km/h (387.4 mph), which Rolls-Royce says not only makes it the fastest electric aircraft, but the world's fastest electric vehicle of any kind.

From the outset, the Spirit of Innovation was built from the ground up to become the world's fastest electric airplane, taking aim at the 210 mph (338 km/h) set by Siemens in 2017. The aircraft is propelled by a 500-hp (400-kW) all-electric powertrain and battery pack of 6,000 cells, described as the most energy-dense ever integrated into an aircraft.

The Spirit of Innovation completed its first taxi tests back in March, and then flew for the first time in September, completing a 15-minute flight and kicking off a more advanced testing phase. The latest outing again took place at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site, and culminated in a trio of world records, according to Rolls-Royce.

The Spirit of Innovation was clocked at a top speed of 623 km/h (387.4 mph), according to Rolls-Royce
The Spirit of Innovation was clocked at a top speed of 623 km/h (387.4 mph), according to Rolls-Royce

This includes climbing to an altitude of 3,000 m (9,840 ft) in 202 seconds, breaking the previous record by 60 seconds, reaching a top speed of 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph) over 3 km (1.9 miles), and achieving a top speed of 532.1 km/h (330 mph) over 15 km (9.3 miles). These three world-record claims have been submitted to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale for official certification, but the aircraft is said to have also been clocked at 623 km/h (387.4 mph) during these runs, faster than any electric vehicle on the planet, according to Rolls-Royce.

“Flying the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ at these incredible speeds and believing we have broken the world-record for all-electric flight is a momentous occasion," says test pilot Phill O’Dell. "This is the highlight of my career and is an incredible achievement for the whole team. The opportunity to be at the forefront of another pioneering chapter of Rolls-Royce’s story as we look to deliver the future of aviation is what dreams are made of.”

The video below shows the Spirit of Innovation in action during its latest outings.

Rolls-Royce | Spirit of Innovation - the world's fastest all-electric aircraft

Source: Rolls-Royce

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12 comments
12 comments
anthony88
Be nice to hear the sound the plane makes instead of the music.
EUbrainwashing
There's something reminiscent of a Spitfire about this aircraft's appearance.
Bodger
An absolute beauty no matter how fast it flies.
alan c
EUbrainwashing I was just thinking how a nice next step would be an electric conversion of a Spitfire....
There is a DHC Beaver electric conversion already in service in Canada (featured in New Atlas I think) and aeromodellers have been flying brushless/lithium since nearly the turn of the century.
guzmanchinky
Absolutely amazing, and looks incredible? I WONDER HOW IT SOUNDS WHEN IT'S POWERING UP, TAKING OFF AND FLYING BY??? But I guess the goofy music is more important.
WONKY KLERKY
Frau Merkel.
This time, we'll have a 20mm through the screw boss as well.
sally
I’m sure I have seen YouTube vids of the motor running with sound in ground rests before adding to the airframe.
Kjell Haugen
What a beauty!
toddzrx
Yawn……
ljaques
Love the shape of all the lifting surfaces, pointy and sexy. But that fuselage is just plain ugly and imbalanced due to the placement of the batteries, no doubt. Congrats on the record, Rolls. Now make one that's purty.
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