Rolls-Royce announced on Thursday that it has completed ground testing on the propulsion technology for a demonstrator aircraft designed to be the “world’s fastest all-electric plane.” Testing was conducted on the company’s “ionBird” test airframe, which is a full-scale replica of the aircraft’s core. The project is part of the Rolls-Royce’s “Accelerating the Electrification of Flight” (ACCEL) initiative.
“The completion of ground-testing for the ACCEL project is a great achievement for the team and is another important step towards a world record attempt,” said director of Rolls-Royce electrical Rob Watson. “This project is also helping to develop Rolls-Royce’s capabilities and ensure that we remain a leader in delivering the electrification of flight, an important part of our sustainability strategy.”
According to Rolls-Royce, the aircraft—powered by a 6,000-cell battery pack running a 500-HP powertrain—will be capable of reaching speeds of over 300 MPH. It is expected to fly for the first time later this year with an official attempt at beating the all-electric flight world speed record planned for early 2021. As previously reported by AVweb, Rolls-Royce introduced the ACCEL electric aircraft project in December 2019.