Rolls-Royce is taking the first steps towards the future of electric aviation. The second world manufacturer of aeronautical engines has successfully completed the maiden flight of its electric aircraft dubbed Spirit of Innovation.
The Spirit of Innovation doesn’t look like an electric plane, but it does have a 400-kilowatt engine. It is powered by the “highest power density battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft.”
According to a company statement, the aircraft was in the air for about 15 minutes. In this way, Rolls-Royce began an intense testing phase involving the collection of performance data.
The first test of the Rolls-Royce electric aircraft was carried out on the Boscombe Down runway of the UK Ministry of Defense. The next challenge is to continue testing and hit 300 miles per hour (480 km / h).
The development of Rolls-Royce’s electric aircraft is part of the Acceleration of Flight Electrification (ACCEL) program. Several actors, both public and private, participate there.
Part of the project funding is provided by the Institute of Aerospace Technology. Also involved are electric motor manufacturer YASA and aerospace battery company Electroflight.
Rolls-Royce bets on the electric plane
The British multinational has been designing, manufacturing and distributing some of the propulsion systems for aircraft for years. most trusted in the world, but driven by polluting energy sources, that is, fossil fuels.
However, albeit at a much slower pace, the aviation industry could follow in the automotive footsteps by converting to electric plane as a viable alternative. This would be a huge benefit from an emissions point of view.
One of the keys to the future of electric aircraft is to develop solutions that are compelling enough in terms of technology, safety and, above all, cost. Rolls-Royce is already pointing towards this horizon.
The company is already working with Widerøe, Scandinavia’s largest regional airline, to bring a fully functional electric passenger aircraft into operation by 2026.
“We are committed to ensuring that our new products are zero-emission compliant by 2030 and that all of our products reach zero emissions by 2050,” says Rolls-Royce.