Most people know Rolls Royce as a British luxury automaker but what they don’t know is that they also make airplane engines and have ambitions set to build the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft. Enter the Rolls Royce ACCEL electric airplane which is short for “Accelerating the Electrification of Flight” is a key part of Rolls Royce’s strategy to master electrical propulsion in a plane. It will feature a ground-breaking electrical propulsion system to enable the zero-emissions plane to make a run for the record books with a target speed of 300+ MPH (480+ KMH) in late Spring 2020.
Rolls Royce has partnered up with YASA which is the premier electric motor and controller manufacturer as well as Electroflight, the leading technology and engineering services start-up that supplies bespoke battery systems for the aerospace sector. Half of the funding came by way of the the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.
Rolls Royce ACCEL electric airplane
The Rolls Royce ACCEL electric airplane will have the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft, which would provide enough energy to fly 200 miles (London to Paris) on a single charge. The battery pack is comprised of 6,000 cells which are packaged to minimize weight and maximize thermal protection. An advanced active cooling system is also added to ensures optimum performance by directly cooling cells during the high-power record runs.
The propeller is driven by three high power density axial electric motors. When compared to a conventional airplane, the propeller blades spin at a far lower RPM to deliver a more stable and far quieter ride. All combined, the Rolls Royce ACCEL electric airplane all-electric power-train will continuously deliver more than 500 horsepower with 90% energy efficiency and of course zero emissions.
Rob Watson, Director of Rolls-Royce Electrical said: “Building the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft is nothing less than a revolutionary step change in aviation and we are delighted to unveil the ACCEL project plane. This is not only an important step towards the world-record attempt but will also help to develop Rolls-Royce’s capabilities and ensure that we are at the forefront of developing technology that can play a fundamental role in enabling the transition to a low carbon global economy.”
While Nadhim Zahawi, the Business Minister chimed in saying: “The electrification of flight has the potential to revolutionize the way we travel and transform aviation for decades to come – ensuring we can travel worldwide while maintaining a low carbon footprint.”
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