Rolls-Royce’s all-electric aircraft, “the spirit of innovation”, will take to the skies for the first time in the coming weeks as the aerospace company works on a world record attempt.
Engineers leading the project aim for Spirit of Innovation to become the fastest electric aircraft in the world and reach speeds of 300 mph or more.
The project is completely carbon neutral and to support this Jaguar Land Rover is lending a number of zero emission fully electric Jaguar I-Pace cars as towing and assistance vehicles.
READ MORE: Jaguar Land Rover’s first electric car – our verdict on what it’s like to drive
The aircraft was created by the ACCEL program, short for Accelerating the Electrification of Flight, which includes key partners YASA, the manufacturer of electric motors and controllers, and the aerospace start-up Electroflight.
Half of the funding for the project is provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.
Rob Watson, Director of Rolls-Royce Electrical, said: âRolls-Royce and Jaguar Land Rover are British pioneers who focus on advancing electrical technology for their respective industries.
âWe are delighted that Jaguar Land Rover is lending us I-Pace vehicles as we strive to develop the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft.
“It is important for us that the ACCEL program is carbon neutral and this will be supported by all electric cars for ground assistance.”
The Spirit of Innovation has an electric propulsion system delivering 500 hp + with the most powerful battery ever assembled for an aircraft.
It provides enough energy to power 250 homes or fly from London to Paris on a single charge.
The I-Pace uses two electric motors producing a total of 394 hp with power supplied by a 90 kWh lithium-ion battery with 432 pocket cells.
Coincidentally, the I-Pace is able to cover 292 miles on a single charge – exactly the distance by road from London to Paris.
Rawdon Glover, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover UK, said: âThe I-Pace is a true pioneer; When launched in 2018, it was the world’s first all-electric premium SUV, making Jaguar a leader in electrification and setting the brand on track to go fully electric by 2025.
“We are delighted to support another great British pioneer, Rolls-Royce, and his team as the Spirit of Innovation aircraft brings electrified aviation into the nation’s psyche with this incredible 300 mph record attempt.”
The ACCEL project is part of Rolls-Royce’s journey to enable the sectors in which it operates to achieve net zero carbon by 2050.
The company plans to use the technology from the ACCEL project and apply it to market-oriented products, bringing a portfolio of engines, power electronics and batteries to the general aerospace, urban air mobility sectors. and small commuter planes.
Likewise, the track experiences of the Jaguar Racing Formula E team are helping to drive concrete improvements in Jaguar’s electric road vehicles.
Several members of the ACCEL project team come from Formula E circles.
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