Fastest, all-electric plane from Rolls Royce to break records

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
  • Follow author on
Rolls Royce Electric Plane
Representational Image

The British engine maker Rolls Royce has completed the ground-testing of their pioneering technology that will power the world’s fastest all-electric plane.

The technology was tested on a full-scale copy of the plane’s core, called an ‘ionBird’ with a 500hp electric powertrain and a battery powerful enough to supply 250 homes.

The plane belongs to the Rolls-Royce initiative Accelerating the Electrification of Flight (ACCEL). The project is conducted in collaboration with the UK-based electric motor and controller manufacturer YASA and Electroflight, an aviation start-up.

Rolls Royce electric plance
The ground test studied the effectiveness of the technology that is set to power the world’s fastest, all electric flights.

The technology developed by the team will soon be integrated into Rolls Royce’s Spirit of Innovation plane. The aviation industry has a long history of iron-birds for prototyping and integrating aircraft systems but in this project the test airframe is called ‘ionBird’ due to the zero-emission energy source propelling the aircraft.

Nadhim Zahawi 
Nadhim Zahawi 
UK Business and Industry Minister

“The completion of ground-testing for the government-backed ACCEL project is not only a step towards an exciting world record attempt but a leap towards developing all-electric and hybrid-electric planes that one day could ferry large numbers of passengers around the world.”

Half of the financial backing of the project is done by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) in collaboration with the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.

Rolls-Royce is targeting to break the existing all-electric flight world record by early next year and the first flight is planned for the later half of 2020.

The ACCEL project is a part of Rolls-Royce’s effort to attain net-zero carbon by 2050. It is the first time the firm is using offset to make the whole mission carbon neutral.

Stay Updated: Aircrafts of the Future: Airbus unveils 3 ZEROe concepts