Rolls-Royce makes some of the world’s most luxurious automobiles, and now they’re vying to make the world’s fastest electric plane. As a part of their ACCEL—Accelerating the Electrification of Flight—initiative, the British automaker will be integrating their electrical propulsion system into a zero-emissions airplane that will be able to hit a target speed of over 300 miles per hour.
“The UK has a proud heritage and enviable worldwide reputation for advances in aviation technology,” said Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi. “The electrification of flight has the potential to revolutionize the way we travel and transform aviation for decades to come—ensuring we can travel worldwide while maintaining a low carbon footprint. Backed by government funding, Rolls-Royce is pushing the boundaries even further, and this new innovation could become the fastest electric plane ever.”
The ACCEL plane will feature a power-dense battery pack that has enough power stored in it to fuel 250 homes. That’s enough electrical power to fly the plan from London to Paris—a distance of 200 miles—on a single charge. The battery uses 6,000 cells, which have all been packed to minimize weight while also maximizing thermal protection. The battery feeds power to three axial electric motors which in turn drive the propeller using 500 horsepower. The ACCEL’s propeller spins at a lower RPM than conventional planes, resulting in a more stable and a quieter flight. Rolls-Royce isn’t just looking to make a fast plane, though. They’re also partnering with Airbus on the E-Fan X technology demonstration. This project will take commercial flight one step closer to becoming a reality. Scandinavia’s largest regional airline, Wideroe, is another partner with Rolls-Royce looking to create zero-emissions flight. This program has the goal of replacing Wideroe’s regional fleet of 30+ airplanes with electric versions by 2030.
“Building the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft is nothing less than a revolutionary step change in aviation and we are delighted to unveil the ACCEL project plane,” said Rob Watson, the director of Rolls-Royce Electrical. “This is not only an important step towards the world-record attempt but will also help to develop Rolls-Royce’s capabilities and ensure that we are at the forefront of developing technology that can play a fundamental role in enabling the transition to a low carbon global economy.”