Rolls-Royce’s all-electric aircraft, the “Spirit of Innovation”, has recently hit a record-breaking top speed of 387.4 mph on a series of runs at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down testing site in Wiltshire, UK. Rolls-Royce claims that this makes the Spirit of Innovation the fastest EV in the world, with the figures since submitted to the World Air Sports Federation for verification.
The runs took place on November 16, during which the EV aircraft set three additional new world records. The Spirit of Innovation outperformed a Siemens electric plane that reached a top speed of 210 mph in 2017. Hitting a speed of 345.5 mph over 3km, the Spirit of Innovation trumped the previous record by an impressive 132 mph. The aircraft also managed 330mph over 15km, beating yet another record by 182 mph. And, on top of this, the Spirit of Innovation also climbed to 3,000 metres in 3.4 minutes during its series of runs, smashing the previous time by a whole minute.
The Spirit of Innovation packs a 400 kW powertrain consisting of three motors and, according to the engine manufacturer, is fitted with the most “power dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in aerospace.”
The all-electric aircraft was first announced back in 2019 and was developed as part of Rolls-Royce’s Accelerating the Electrification of Flight (ACCEL) programme. The initiative aims to create a future of environmentally-sustainable flight, funded in part by the UK government and the Aerospace Technology Institute.