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Spirit of Innovation in flight

‘Spirit of Innovation’ stakes claim to be the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle after test flights in the South West

Joe Bevan
Authored by Joe Bevan
Posted: Friday, November 19, 2021 - 12:31

Rolls Royce's all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft may soon be confirmed as the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft, after setting three new world records in the South West this month.

Ratification for the records is pending, with the data havig been submitted to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) – the World Air Sports Federation who control and certify world aeronautical and astronautical records.

If confirmed, the aircraft will have reached a top speed of 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph) over 3 kilometres,  at 15:45 (GMT) on 16 November 2021, smashing the existing record by 213.04 km/h (132mph). The flight took place at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site.

In further runs the aircraft achieved 532.1km/h (330 mph) over 15 kilometres – 292.8km/h (182mph) faster than the previous record – and broke the fastest time to climb to 3000 metres by 60 seconds with a time of 202 seconds, according to claims made by Rolls Royce.

Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce, said: “Staking the claim for the all-electric world-speed record is a fantastic achievement for the ACCEL team and Rolls-Royce. I would like to thank our partners and especially Electroflight for their collaboration in achieving this pioneering breakthrough. The advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this programme has exciting applications for the Advanced Air Mobility market. Following the world’s focus on the need for action at COP26,  this is another milestone that will help make ‘jet zero’ a reality and supports our ambitions to deliver the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Rolls-Royce’s revolutionary Spirit of Innovation aircraft is yet more proof of the UK’s enviable credentials when it comes to innovation. This record will show the potential of electric flight and help to unlock the technologies that could make it part of everyday life. The government is proud to back projects like this to leverage the private investment necessary to unlock cleaner, greener aircraft which will allow people to fly as they do now, but in a way that cuts emissions.”

Image: Rolls Royce

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