Rolls-Royce first unveiled the ACCEL project this January with the ambitions of building the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft. Now just before 2020 arrives, the company has made huge progress on the project inside the Gloucestershire Airport. With the ionBird test airframe constructed, it is now down to testing the ground-breaking electrical propulsion system before it is fully integrated into the plane.
ACCEL – short for “Accelerating the Electrification of Flight” – is a key initiative of Rolls-Royce’s strategy for embracing electrification. The project is partially funded by Aerospace Technology Institute and collaborated with electric motors and controllers manufacturer YASA and aviation start-up Electroflight. The propeller is driven by three high power density axial electric motors, delivering 500 hp with 90% energy efficiency and zero emissions plus a more stable and quieter ride. The all-electric powertrain is supported by the most power-dense battery pack ever, powering the plane to fly 200 miles (i.e from London to Paris) on a single charge. Rolls-Royce expects the plane to hit 300+ mph and the record breaking challenge will be happening in late Spring 2020.