British engineering firm Rolls-Royce has announced plans to take ACCEL, short for “Accelerating the Electrification of flight” the all-electric aircraft to the skies by 2020. The aim is to build a zero-emissions plane that can reach at least 300mph. The current record for an all-electric plane is 210 mph, set by Siemens in 2017.
The project is part-funded by the UK government and includes Rolls Royce, aviation start-up Electroflight and manufacturer YASA and the Aerospace Technology institute.
The team will be based out of a hangar at Gloucestershire airport. According to Rolls, the single-seater propeller aircraft will carry the most powerful battery ever flown and will have a range of 200 miles.
“This plane will be powered by a state-of-the-art electrical system and the most powerful battery ever built for flight,” said Matheu Parr, the ACCEL project lead for Rolls-Royce. “In the year ahead, we’re going to demonstrate its abilities in demanding test environments before going for gold in 2020 from a landing strip on the Welsh coastline.”
There are over 100 electric aircraft projects underway across the world, and London’s Heathrow says it expects to see them at major airports by 2030.