Rolls-Royce has completed the taxiing of the “Spirit of Innovation” aircraft, a step toward its plan to set a record for the world’s fastest all-electric plane. For the first time, the aircraft hit the runway, powered by a 500hp (400KW) electric powertrain and the latest energy storage technology.
The taxiing is a test of the integration of the plane’s propulsion system, ahead of its flight testing scheduled within the first quarter of the year. The world record attempt will take place within the first half of the year.
At full power, the combination of the electric powertrain and the advanced battery system will power the aircraft past 300mph (480 kph), setting a new world record for electric flights.
Taxiing is an essential hallmark in Roll-Royce’s sustainability journey, aiming at net zero carbon by 2050.
Further, the pioneer flight will help rolls-royce position itself as a technology leader offering power systems to the Urban Air Mobility market.
The flight is part of the ACCEL (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight) program, partly funded by the UK government’s Aerospace Technology Institute, electric motor and controller manufacturer YASA and aviation startup Elecroflight. ACCEL intends to pioneer the third wave of aviation, supporting Roll-Royce’s strategy to champion sustainable power, including electrification.