engineering careers  Spirit of Innovation plane is the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft
engineering careers  Spirit of Innovation plane is the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft

The Spirit of Innovation – an electric aircraft demonstrator developed by Rolls-Royce – has clinched the record for the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft.

The Derby-based firm has claimed that the craft hit a speed of 387.4 mph during a test run at Boscombe Down in Amesbury on 16 November.

The speed was hit by the director of flight and operations (and also test pilot) Phill O’Dell.

Rolls-Royce explained that the Spirit of Innovation was almost 132 mph faster than the existing record held by Siemens eAircraft powered Extra 330 LE Aerobatic aircraft in 2017.

Not only that but the firm claim to have also nabbed the record for the fastest time to climb to 3,000 metres by 60 seconds at 3 minutes and 22 seconds.

The 24 ft (7.3 m) span aircraft is powered by three high power density electric motors driving a single three-blade propeller spinning at 2,400 RPM, designed and manufactured by YASA.

This runs at 750 volts and delivering over 500 hp (370 kW) combined.

The plan has a 6,000-cell, cooled battery pack which means it has the highest energy density for an aircraft to date and in theory will allow for typical cruising speeds of 320 km while achieving a 170-nautical mile range.

The aircraft’s body is a carbon fibre Sharp Nemesis NXT racer.

The battery, motors and control equipment weigh the same as the regular engine and fuel tank while the aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 1,200kg (2,645lb).

The results are yet to be officially certified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) so the plane does not yet officially hold the World Records.