The future is fast: Rolls-Royce aims to build electric plane that can fly at 480 km per hour

It’s part of an initiative to champion sustainable air travel

Rolls-Royce is aiming to build the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft. Courtesy of Rolls-Royce plc
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Rolls Royce is aiming for the skies with a recently-unveiled all-electric plane.

The British luxury car and manufacturing business presented the zero-emissions aircraft on Thursday, December 19, at Gloucestershire Airport.

The company is aiming to make this the world’s fastest electric plane.

The plane has been unveiled at Gloucestershire Airport
The plane has been unveiled at Gloucestershire Airport

Work has already begun on integrating an electric propulsion system to enable the zero-emissions plane to achieve a target speed of 480 plus kilometres per hour. The company will be making a run for a world record in late spring in 2020.

Your average commercial airliner generally flies at between 740 to 930 kilometres per hour. However, smaller planes only fly at around 200 kilometres per hour.

It’s all part of a Rolls-Royce initiative called Accel (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight) and is a key part of the company’s attempt to champion electrification and zero-emission flights. The project involves partners like electric motor and controller manufacturer Yasa and aviation start-up Electroflight.

Half of the project’s funding comes from Aerospace Technology Institute, in partnership with the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.

“Building the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft is nothing less than a revolutionary step change in aviation and we are delighted to unveil the Accel project plane,” said Rob Watson, Director of Rolls-Royce Electrical.

The move comes at a time of increasing scrutiny of the aviation sector and its environmental impact. Over the last few years, public figures who often advocate for the environment such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Prince Harry have faced criticism for the use of private jets.

Last month saw Bella Hadid donate money to plant 600 trees in a bid to offset the carbon emissions from the flights she takes.

Climate-change activist Greta Thunberg has also famously highlighted the issue by refusing to travel by flight for environmental reasons.

A rendering of the plane that aims to beat all-electric aviation speed records
A rendering of the plane that aims to beat all-electric aviation speed records