The ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft, reaching a top speed of 345.4mph over 3 kilometres. The aircraft is powered by a 400kW electric powertrain, the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aerospace application.

The ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is a pivotal component of the ACCEL project, which stands for ‘Accelerating the Electrification of Flight.’ This endeavour received half of its funding from the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in collaboration with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.

During its record-breaking flights, the aircraft was propelled by a cutting-edge 400kW (over 500hp) electric powertrain, coupled with the most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in the aerospace industry. Our collaborative efforts extended to include Electroflight, a specialist in aviation energy storage, and YASA, a supplier of automotive powertrains. Beyond its remarkable technical feats, the project and its record-setting achievements yielded crucial data that will shape the future of electric power and propulsion systems, particularly for all-electric urban air mobility and hybrid-electric commuter aircraft. The attributes demanded by ‘air-taxis’ in terms of battery technology closely mirror the advancements developed for the ‘Spirit of Innovation.’

Electropak supplied the Busbars for this project, working in partnership with Rolls Royce and Electroflight. The Busbars were manufactured from Aluminium rather than Copper to save weight.

This project demonstrates the UK’s commitment to decarbonising passenger flight in the future.

“Staking the claim for the all-electric world-speed record is a fantastic achievement for the ACCEL team and Rolls-Royce. I would like to thank our partners and especially Electroflight for their collaboration in achieving this pioneering breakthrough. The advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this programme has exciting applications for the Advanced Air Mobility market. Following the world’s focus on the need for action at COP26,  this is another milestone that will help make ‘jet zero’ a reality and supports our ambitions to deliver the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea.”

Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce

“Rolls-Royce’s revolutionary Spirit of Innovation aircraft is yet more proof of the UK’s enviable credentials when it comes to innovation. This record will show the potential of electric flight and help to unlock the technologies that could make it part of everyday life. The government is proud to back projects like this to leverage the private investment necessary to unlock cleaner, greener aircraft which will allow people to fly as they do now, but in a way that cuts emissions.”

Business Secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng
spirit of innovation

Image credit: Rolls Royce