Rolls-Royce’s “Spirit of Innovation” all-electric airplane completed a 15 minute flight, marking “the beginning of an intensive flight-testing phase in which we will be collecting valuable performance data on the aircraft’s electrical power and propulsion system,” the company announced. Engadget reports: Rolls Royce said the one-seat airplane has “the most power-dense battery pack every assembled for an aircraft.” The aircraft uses (PDF) a 6,000 cell battery pack with a three-motor powertrain that currently delivers 400kW (500-plus horsepower), and Rolls-Royce said the aircraft will eventually achieve speeds of over 300 MPH. The flight comes about a year after the originally scheduled takeoff and about six months after taxi trials. Rolls-Royce is also developing an air taxi with manufacturer Tecnam, with the aim of delivering an “all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market,” according to the companies. It has previously teamed with Siemens and Airbus on another e-plane concept.
The project was half funded by the Aerospace Technology Institute and UK government, with the aim of eventually creating all-electric passenger planes. “This is not only 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 can help make ‘jet zero’ a reality,” said Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East.