Rolls-Royce is building the world’s fastest electric aircraft as part of initiative ACCEL – Accelerating the Electrification of Flight – intended to pioneer a third wave of aviation in support of electric aircraft.
At Gloucestershire airport in South West England, a team of British engineers, designers, and data specialists are building a high-performance all-electric aeroplane unlike anything the world has seen. The team brings together some of the top minds from the world of Formula E racing to help design the e-racer.
ACCEL Project Manager for Rolls-Royce, Matheu Parr, said: “This plane will be powered by a state-of-the-art electrical system and the most powerful battery ever built for flight.
“In the year ahead, we’re going to demonstrate its abilities in demanding test environments before going for gold in 2020 from a landing strip on the Welsh coastline.”
The zero-emissions plane, which is scheduled to take to the skies of Great Britain in 2020, is the centerpiece of Rolls-Royce’s ACCEL initiative, and will be completely different to anything else at Gloucestershire airport – or anywhere in the world.
According to Rolls-Royce, ACCEL has the most energy-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft, providing enough power to fly 200 miles on a single charge, the equivalent distance as flying from London to Paris.
Partly funded by the UK government, ACCEL partners include electric motor and controller manufacturer YASA, and the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI).
The company was fundamental in helping Britain win the Schneider Trophy in 1931, when Rolls-Royce became established as a leader in aerospace. The British racing seaplane that established the record was known as the Supermarine S.6B.
In comparison, the current record, set by Siemens in 2017 for an all-electric plane, is 210 mph.