Electric plane is fastest!

Photo: John M Dibbs for Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce has announced that its all-electric plane, dubbed the “Spirit of Innovation,” is the fastest of its kind in the world after it reached a maximum speed of 387.4 mph (623 k/h) in recent flight tests.

In a recent news release, the company, not to be mistaken for the car company owned by BMW, claimed that the Spirit of Innovation set three new world records earlier this week. On flight tests carried out on Nov. 16, Rolls-Royce said its aircraft reached a top speed of 345.4 mph (555.9 km/h) over 1.8 miles (3 kilometers), exceeding the current record by 132 mph (213 k/h). It broke another record in a subsequent 9.3-mile (15 kilometer) flight, during which it reached 330 mph (532.1 km/h), surpassing the current record by 182 mph (292.8 km/h).

The Spirit of Innovation didn’t stop there, though. Rolls-Royce affirms that it smashed another record when it reached 9,842.5 feet (3,000 meters) in 202 seconds, beating the current record by 60 seconds. In the company’s view, it also took the title of the world’s fastest all-electric vehicle when it reached a maximum speed of 387.4 mph (623 km/h) during its flight tests.

The company’s aircraft is powered by a 400kW electric powertrain and “the most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in aerospace.” It’s part of the Accelerating the Electrification of Flight project, which receives half of its funding from the UK government and the Aerospace Technology Institute.

Image for article titled Rolls-Royce Claims Its All-Electric Plane With the Clunky Name Is the World’s Fastest
Photo: John M Dibbs for Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce said it’s submitting data on the plane’s achievements to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, also known as the World Air Sports Federation, which is in charge of verifying world and continental records.

Company CEO Warren East celebrated the aircraft’s performance—which is quiet impressive considering that the Spirit of Innovation made its first flight ever a little more than a month ago—and said that technological breakthroughs like these are especially significant after the United Nation’s COP26 talks.

“Following the world’s focus on the need for action at COP26, this is another milestone that will help make ‘jet zero’ a reality and supports our ambitions to deliver the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea,” East said in the news release.

Considering the hundreds of private jets that descended upon COP26 in the ultimate showing of irony and hypocrisy, it’s clear the world has a private jet problem, which we all end up suffering for. If aircraft like the Spirit of Innovation prove viable, our planet will be better for it, especially if the technology can be adapted for larger commercial aircraft as well.

Just please, considering changing the name to just “Spirit” or something shorter. It’s a mouthful.

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