Rolls-Royce, best known in aviation for its jet engines, has taken on an all-electric aircraft on its maiden voyage. The “Spirit of Innovation” completed a 15-minute flight, marking “the beginning of an intensive phase of flight testing in which we will collect valuable data on the performance of the aircraft’s propulsion system and electrical power,” said the company. Announced.
Rolls Royce said the single-seat aircraft has “the most energy-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft.” the aircraft uses a 6,000-cell battery pack with a three-engine powertrain currently delivering 400kW (more than 500 horsepower), and Rolls-Royce said the aircraft will eventually reach speeds of more than 300 MPH.
The flight occurs approximately one year after the originally scheduled takeoff and approximately six months after the taxi tests. So Rolls-Royce is developing an air taxi with the manufacturer Tecnam, with the aim of delivering a “fully electric passenger plane for the commuter market”, according to the companies. Has previously partnered with Siemens and Airbus in another electronic airplane concept.
Aircraft companies have been exploring electric airplanes for several years, as air travel and cargo account for an increasing amount of greenhouse gases. The World Wildlife Foundation has call it “It is currently the most carbon-intensive activity that an individual can perform.”
However, weight is a much bigger problem for airplanes than it is for cars. Ford’s all-electric Lightning pickup weighs 1,800 pounds more than the gasoline model and offers a range that’s just under half. However, if you add 1,800 pounds to a Cessna 206 Turbo Stationair, it would exceed its payload by 500 pounds before even loading passengers (or the pilot), so it wouldn’t even lift off the ground.
The project was half funded by the Institute of Aerospace Technology and the UK government, with the aim of eventually creating fully electric passenger aircraft. “It’s not just about breaking a world record; the advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this program has exciting applications for the urban air mobility market and may help make ‘jet zero’ a reality, “said Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Engadget.