Rolls-Royce complete ground-testing for record electric aircraft


Flying from London to Paris really fast and with zero-emissions, that would be a catchy description of project ACCEL, that now took the next step towards launching “the world’s fastest electric aircraft”. Rolls-Royce has completed ground-testing of the technology.

Rob Watson, Director Rolls-Royce Electrical, called the completion of ground-testing for the ACCEL project “a great achievement” and “another important step towards a world record attempt.” The latter is now set to launch early next year.

That is two years after RR first presented the project as reported. ACCEL is short for Accelerating the Electrification of Flight.

The drive system comprises three axially arranged electric motors, which together are to produce 367 kW for the duration of the record flight. Compared to a conventional aircraft, the propeller blades rotate at a much slower speed to achieve a more stable and quiet position in the air, according to the engineers.

Ground-testing now completed saw the team test every component of the system including said propeller. It ran up to full speed (approximately 2,400 rpm). RR reckons that when at full power during the flight-testing phase, it will propel the aircraft to more than 300 mph setting a new world speed record for electric flight. Over 6,000 cells are packaged in the battery.

The first flight is planned for later this year, and Rolls-Royce is aiming to beat the current all-electric flight world record early next year. Half of the project’s funding is provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.


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