Rolls-Royce Aims to Break Electric Flight Speed Record in 2020

A team of UK-based companies led by Rolls-Royce aims to build the fastest completely electric-powered plane ever to prove that eliminating fossil fuel emissions from aircraft doesn’t have to come at the cost of speed.

The goal of this project called the ACCEL initiative, short for “accelerating the electrification of flight,” is to build a single-seat piloted plane that can fly 300 miles per hour with a range of 200 miles before its battery needs to be recharged. Rolls-Royce on Tuesday announced their team aims to fly the three-blade propeller plane with a wingspan of 24 feet over the UK in 2020 and beat the existing electric flight speed record of 211 miles per hour. Siemens built an electric motor for the Extra 330LE plane, which was piloted at that record-setting speed in 2017.

The team led by Rolls-Royce includes aviation startup Electroflight and electric motor manufacturer YASA Limited. The ACCEL initiative, based at Gloucestershire airport, is partly funded by the UK government.

“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,” Matheu Parr, ACCEL project manager at Rolls-Royce said in a statement.

The battery pack on the ACCEL plane would include 6,000 battery cells and provide 750 kilowatts to the aircraft, according to blueprints posted online by Rolls-Royce

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