Rolls-Royce‘s all-electric “Spirit of Innovation” aircraft hit a maximum speed of 623 km/h (387.4 mph) last week, likely setting a new world record as the fastest all-electric aircraft.
The company said in a press release that it has submitted data to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), a global body that controls and certifies world aeronautical and astronautical records.
The previous top speed reached by an all-electric aircraft over 3 kilometers was 213.04 km/h (132mph), while Spirit of Innovation achieved 555 km/h (345.4 mph) over 3 kilometers at the U.K. Ministry of Defense’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site last week.
During its runs, the aircraft achieved a speed of 532.1km/h (330 mph) over 15 kilometers — 55% faster than the previous record — and also “broke the fastest time to climb to 3,000 meters by 60 seconds with a time of 202 seconds,” Rolls Royce said.
“We hope that the FAI will certify and officially confirm the achievements of the team in the near future,” the company said.
The plane, which completed its first test flight in September, is propelled by a 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain that is said to contain the most power-dense battery pack used in an aircraft. Its continued flight testing is part of the ACCEL program, short for “Accelerating the Electrification of Flight,” which aims to advance the development of zero-emissions aircraft.
ACCEL was funded in part by the Aerospace Technology Institute, in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate U.K. Rolls-Royce has also been working on the development of all-electric air taxis in partnership with Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Scandinavia.
The company has pledged to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in its operations by 2030.