Rolls Royce’s all-electric aircraft, the ‘Spirt of Innovation’, has set two world records to claim the title of the fastest electric vehicle.
For the first record, the aircraft reached a top speed of 345.4 mph over three kilometres, smashing the existing record by 132mph. For its other world record, it also hit 330mph over 15 kilometres, 182mph faster than the previous record.
On 16th November, the Spirit of Innovation took to the sky at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site for its record-breaking flight. Data was submitted to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), who control and certify world aeronautical records, and have confirmed that the Spirit of Innovation is the world’s fastest electric plane.
Rolls-Royce partnered with aviation energy storage specialist Electroflight to help develop the battery system for the record-breaking plane. The WMG team at the University of Warwick were exclusively used to test and validate the batteries used on the aircraft.
Using their state-of-the-art facilities at WMG’s Energy Innovation Centre, researchers at WMG supported the team through the development process, conducting extensive electrical, thermal, safety, and vibration & shock testing. This was delivered all the way from Electroflight’s initial single lithium-ion cell selection through to the battery module and finally the battery pack for a full propulsion battery system.
Chief engineer Mark Amor-Segan, from WMG, University of Warwick, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to see Rolls-Royce’s ‘Spirit of Innovation’ be awarded two new world records and officially be titled the World’s fastest all-electric aircraft. It has been a tremendous journey to share with Electroflight, to help verify and validate the battery system end-to-end and help create the most power-dense propulsion battery ever for Aerospace.
“We have worked closely with Electroflight and Rolls-Royce throughout this process, cementing new collaborative relationships and helping achieve world-class pioneering technology. To see it progress from literally a single cell into a full-scale battery system and a world-record breaking flight, is tribute to the incredible dedication and capability of the whole team at ACCEL. This project has played a very important part in our work in Aerospace, and we’re excited to continue our research into electrification and the future of sustainable flight.”
Douglas Campbell, technical director of Electroflight said: “This has been a landmark project for our company and our industry – one which opens up a world of possibilities in the electrification of aviation. We’re thrilled to have played such an important part in this success and grateful to our partners at WMG for their support throughout this endeavour.”
Customer Director Matheu Parr from Rolls-Royce added: “The support we received from WMG to develop the battery technology that would power the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft was critical for the team’s record-breaking triumphs. Rolls-Royce has a long-standing relationship with WMG to ensure we are the forefront of technology and we will build on this capability to deliver propulsion and power systems for the advanced air mobility market.”