It’s Official: Rolls-Royce ‘Spirit of Innovation’ Is the World’s Fastest All-Electric Aircraft

The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale verifies the experimental flight-development vehicle broke two world speed records.

Rolls-Royce (LSE:RR-.LN) can now say it with authority: Its Spirit of Innovation is now the fastest electric aircraft in the world.

The company announced Thursday that Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI)—the Switzerland-based organization that controls and certifies world aeronautical and astronautical records—has verified two records set by the airplane last November at the Ministry of Defense’s Boscombe Down test site:

  • Maximum speed over 3 kilometers: 555.9 km/h (345.4 mph/300.1 knots), which is 213.04 km/h (132 mph/114.7 knots) above the previous record set in 2017 by the Siemens eAircraft’s Extra 330 LE Aerobatic aircraft. 
  • Maximum speed over 15 kilometers: 532.1 km/h (330 mph/286.7 knots) — which is 292.8 km/h (182 mph/158.1 knots) faster than the old mark.  

It also clocked a maximum top speed of 623 km/h (387.4 mph/336.6 knots).

‘Most Power-Dense’ Battery Pack in Aerospace 

Rolls-Royce says the sleek, blue-nosed airplane’s 400 kW electric powertrain, including 6,000 battery cells, is “the most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in aerospace.”

After his flight last November 16, Spirit of Innovation test pilot Phill O’Dell said it was “the highlight of my career and is an incredible achievement for the whole team.”

The airplane was developed under Rolls-Royce’s Accelerating the Electrification of Flight project, funded by the Aerospace Technology Institute, in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.

Rolls says Spirit of Innovation’s advanced technology has potential applications for the emerging urban air mobility market, which aims to develop zero-emission air transportation platforms. 


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