Rolls-Royce says its ACCEL aeroplane will be emission-free and will reach speeds of over 300mph.
Rolls-Royce has announced its plans to build a high-performance electric aeroplane “unlike anything the world has ever seen”.
Scheduled to take to the skies in 2020, Rolls-Royce says the ACCEL aircraft will reach a speed of at least 300 mph – this would make it the fastest all-electric plane in history.
ACCEL stands for Accelerating the Electrification of Flight, and is Rolls-Royce’s initiative to champion electrification.
ACCEL is partly funded by the UK government and involves a host of partners, including electric motor and controller manufacturer, YASA, and the aviation start-up, Electroflight.
Matheu Parr, ACCEL Project Manager for Rolls-Royce, said: “This plane will be powered by a state-of-the-art electrical system and the most powerful battery ever built for flight. In the year ahead, we’re going to demonstrate its abilities in demanding test environments before going for gold in 2020 from a landing strip on the Welsh coastline.”
- Rolls-Royce says ACCEL will have the most energy-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft, providing enough power to fly 200 miles (London to Paris) on a single charge. Its 6,000 cells are packaged for maximum lightness and thermal protection. An advanced cooling system can withstand the extreme temperatures and high-current demands during flight.
- The propeller will be driven by three high power density electric motors, designed and manufactured by YASA. Compared to a conventional plane, the propeller blades spin at a far lower RPM to deliver a more stable and quieter ride. Combined, they’ll continuously deliver more than 500 horsepower.
- The all-electric powertrain will run at 750 volts and deliver 90% energy efficiency with zero emissions.
- For safety and performance optimisation purposes, sensors will collect in-flight information each second across more than 20,000 points on the powertrain, measuring battery voltage, temperature and general performance metrics.