Rolls-Royce’s aviation efforts are far from just history.
It’s quite a far cry from the ultra-luxury cars we are used to seeing from the brand, but aviation occupies much of what Rolls-Royce does as a brand. From building aircraft to supplying engines, Rolls-Royce has been a leading brand in aviation for over 100 years, and with their most recent achievement, breaking the 3-kilometer speed record for all-electric aircraft with the Spirit of Innovation airplane, the Rolls Royce Team hasn’t planned on resting on their laurels any time soon.
Even more than electric cars, building electric aircraft is difficult. That’s because while the considerable weight of batteries isn’t as much of a problem for cars, which stay on the ground, aircraft flies, and has to be light enough to get into the air and stay there comfortably, smoothly, and safely. That’s why Rolls-Royce needed 550 horsepower in the plane to compensate for the weight of the batteries. Rolls-Royce estimates that the energy onboard the craft could power “about 250 homes.”
Working with Electroflight, a small startup in the electric aviation field, Rolls Royce created the Spirit of Innovation, a single-seat propeller plane, flown by a two-pilot team, consisting of a former Royal Air Force pilot and an airline pilot/aerobat. Beating the previous 213 mph 3-kilometer record, the Spirit of Innovation was able to reach an incredible 345 mph, making it officially the world’s fastest all-electric airplane, and proving the viability of electric aviation for the future.