Rolls-Royce, best known in aviation for its jet engines, has made an all-electric airplane on its maiden voyage. The “Spirit of Innovation” accomplished a 15 hour flight, commemorating “the beginning of an intensive flight-testing phase in which we will be collecting valuable carry-on data relating to the aircraft’s electrical power and propulsion organization, ” the company announced.
Rolls Royce said the one-seat airplane has “the most power-dense battery pack every made for an aircraft.” The aircraft utilizes a 6,000 cell battery compres with a three-motor powertrain that currently delivers 400 kW( 500 -plus horsepower ), and Rolls-Royce said the aircraft will eventually achieve accelerations of over 300 MPH.
The flight comes about a year after the originally scheduled takeoff and about six months after taxi visitations. Rolls-Royce is also developing an air taxi with manufacturer Tecnam, with the objectives set out in delivering an “all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market, ” according to the companies. It has previously teamed with Siemens and Airbus on another e-plane concept.
Aircraft companies have been exploring electric airplanes for a number of years, as air travel and merchandise reports for an increasing amount of greenhouse gases. The World Wildlife Foundation has called it “currently the most carbon intensive pleasure private individuals can make.”
Weight is a much bigger problem for airliners that it is for vehicles, nonetheless. Ford’s all-electric Lightning pickup weighs 1,800 pounds more than the gas-powered model, and provides a range that’s slightly under half. Nonetheless, if you added 1,800 pounds to to a Cessna 206 Turbo Stationair, you’d transcend its useful load by 500 pounds before you even laded passengers( or the captain) — so it wouldn’t even get off the sand.
The project was half funded by the Aerospace Technology Institute and UK government, with the objectives set out in eventually creating all-electric passenger planes. “This is not only about separating a nature record; the advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this programme has exciting applications for the Urban Air Mobility market and can help meet’ flow zero’ a reality, ” said Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East.