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You read that right. Rolls-Royce has an all-electric airplane, and it has plans to break some records with it later this year. The Rolls-Royce Spirit of Innovation single-seat airplane took flight last week for 15 minutes, marking a momentous occasion for the luxury brand and electric aviation.

Does Rolls-Royce build planes?

Rolls-Royce Electric Plane: Spirit of Innovation
Rolls-Royce Electric Plane: Spirit of Innovation | Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce is in the aircraft game! According to a press release from Rolls-Royce, Rolls-Royce electric plane finally took off. The Spirit of Innovation all-electric plane took to the skies on September 15. The aircraft is equipped with a 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain. Rolls-Royce also says the Spirit of Innovation has “the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft.” It has three motors and a six-thousand cell battery pack.

Rolls-Royce is on the program called Rolls-Royce ACCEL (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight). The luxury brand, along with partners YASA and aviation start-up Electroflight has been hard at work behind the scenes.

“We are focused on producing the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea, and capture the economic opportunity of the transition to net zero.” 

Warren East | CEO, Rolls-Royce

While the luxury brand aimed to break a world record, there was a lot more riding on this project than just that. The project, nicknamed “jet zero,” focuses on advancing technology for batteries and propulsion in the aviation field.

The Spirit of Innovation had its first 15 minute flight

The Spirit of Innovation took off on a quick 15-minute flight at the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down site. This site is home to experimental flights such as this one, but this was a first for the area. It begins an intense bout of flight-testing, allowing the group to collect performance data on the plane’s electrical power and propulsion system.

Rolls-Royce is offering customers two different kinds of systems. The first is an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) propulsion system, while the second is a commuter aircraft. The project’s target is 300+ mph (480 KHM), which is what the Spirit of Innovation is working toward.

The luxury brand and airframer company Tecnam are working together with Widerøe, the largest Scandinavian airline, to bring all-electric passenger planes to the market.

Jet-zero operations are in full swing

The Rolls-Royce electric plane, the Spirit of Innovation | Rolls-Royce

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Rolls-Royce is aiming to have net-zero operations by 2030 and fully compatible products by 2050. With that, the Spirit of Innovation is still aiming at breaking a new world speed record. Right now, that record belongs to a Siemens electric plane that hit 210 mph back in 2017. Keep an eye on Rolls-Royce and the ACCEL program as the project progresses.

After a successful first flight, the aircraft is well on its way to the next goal. The Spirit of Innovation plans on aiming for the new world speed record later this year. Please buckle up for safety; Rolls-Royce is hitting the skies.