This battery-powered plane is the world’s fastest electric vehicle

Rolls-Royce’s Spirit of Innovation electric plane has been named the world’s fastest electric vehicle after speed records were officially recognised.

The company submitted its data to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) in November, and it has now been confirmed.

The battery-powered plane flew at 345mph in November, reaching a top speed of 387mph during its test flights and smashing previous records.

It also climbed 3,000 metres in 202 seconds.

Pilot Phill O’Dell, who manned the aircraft, called the record-breaking flight “the highlight of my career” and a “momentous occasion”.

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The Spirit of Innovation’s battery contains 6,480 cells, providing enough power to charge 7,500 phones.

It has motor power of 400 kilowatts – equivalent to a 535 BHP supercar – and a battery pack weighing 700kg.

Rolls-Royce described it as “the most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in aerospace”.

One of the obstacles for scaling up electric planes is the weight of the batteries required – several manufacturers are developing lighter battery packs so that the technology might be used in more areas of aviation.

“The advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this programme has exciting applications for the Advanced Air Mobility market,” said Rolls-Royce’s chief executive, Warren East.

“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.”

The plane’s development, costing £6m, was half-funded by the UK government

Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK’s business secretary, congratulated the manufacturers, saying: “This record will show the potential of electric flight and help to unlock the technologies that could make it part of everyday life.”


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