Rolls-Royce’s new, all-electric aircraft Spirit of Innovation completed taxiing tests, moving closer to its maiden flight.
For the first time, the plane taxied under its own power along a runway, propelled by its 500hp electric powertrain. The aircraft is expected to take to the skies for the first time in Spring 2021. The manufacturer hopes that once completed, the plane will be the world’s fastest all-electric plane.
To reach its ambitious goal, Rolls-Royce allied with two British companies: YASA, a manufacturer of high-power, lightweight electric motors, and Electroflight, a start-up specializing in high-performance electric powertrains including energy storage systems.
The aircraft is part of an initiative called Accelerating Flight Electrification (ACCEL). Half of the project is state-funded through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), partnered with the British Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as well as Innovate UK.
“The UK is committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” Minister for Business Paul Scully said. “Through government grants for research and development, we’re championing innovation in the aerospace sector to meet this ambitious target as we build back greener from the pandemic.”