Rolls-Royce’s Electric Plane Completes First Flight
The ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is looking to set records and help “make jet zero a reality.” This maiden flight is only the beginning as the brand gathers valuable data, said to impact the entire market.
The ‘Spirit of Innovation’ completed a 15-minute flight recently © Credit to Rolls-Royce
Jack of all trades company Rolls-Royce has taken the necessary steps in getting its electric planes off the ground.
Literally, in this case.
The ‘Spirit of Innovation’ successfully completed its first flight last week. The one-seated plane remained airborne for around 15 minutes before touching down from the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down site.
This site has a long-standing history with flight-testing/experimental flights, making it the perfect destination for such a feat.
“The first flight of the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is a great achievement for the ACCEL team and 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.”
— Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce
According to Rolls-Royce, its electric plane features “the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft.” The Spirit of Innovation uses a 6,00 cell battery pack coupled with a three-motor powertrain (400kW).
Rolls-Royce says it will eventually achieve speeds of over 300mph, thus adding to its stellar attributes. This could increase the weight of the craft, which would limit flight duration.
Still, Rolls-Royce could be the company to crack the code, balancing weight with efficiency/range.
The data collected from flights could benefit the industry as a whole © Credit to Rolls-Royce
This project is a joint venture, half funded by the Aerospace Technology Institute and UK government. The long term goal is to craft all-electric passenger planes in the future.
In fact, Rolls-Royce and airframer Tecnam are currently working with Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Scandinavia, to deliver an all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market. This would launch in 2026.
Rolls-Royce’s electric aviation efforts continue to set the standard for others to follow. What do you think of Rolls-Royce’s electric plane? And how long should we expect to wait before electric passenger planes are in service?