Rolls Royce is taking a major step in the development for electric aircraft. Their new program, named ‘ACCEL’ (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight ), aims to break the speed record for electric flight by hitting upwards of 300mph.
ACCEL is centered around a small test airplane built by Rolls Royce. The airplane is 12 feet long, made fully of carbon fiber, and is fully electric. Within 24 months, the Rolls Royce team plans to build, test, and commercialize the airplane.
In addition to breaking the speed record, Rolls Royce also plans to break the record for highest power density achieved for a propulsion battery system.
Experiments like these push the R&D of electric aeronautics technology to its peak. These developments on batteries, weight, aerodynamics, composites, and more are all absolutely essential to the eventual realization of eVTOL air taxis (passenger drones). Companies like Rolls Royce with leading technology in these fields may eventually become leaders for the urban aviation industry as a whole.
Rolls Royce’s main goal with the ACCEL project is to create technologies that will allow for all types of hybrid-electric flight in the near future. Said Project Manager Matheu Parr: “We are looking at the mid-2020s for when regional aircraft will be opened up for part-electrical power.”
Why it’s important: With its record breaking developments in electric performance and battery energy density, the ACCEL program will hit breakthroughs in electric flight that are essential to the development of eVTOL air taxis. With eVTOL plans, Rolls Royce is positioning itself well at the forefront of the electrification of flight as well as urban aviation.