The current record for an electric airplane stands at 210 mph, set in 2017 by the German engineering company Siemens. Rolls-Royce hopes to surpass the 343-mph mark it set back in 1931 with the Supermarine. "This plane will be powered by a state-of-the-art electrical system and the most powerful battery ever built for flight," says Matheu Parr ACCEL Project Manager for Rolls-Royce.
The plane's battery pack will be made from 6,000 lithium ion cells, and it will be the most energy-dense unit ever assembled for an aircraft. Not only will it provide the power to surpass 300 mph, a single charge will allow the plane to travel up to 200 miles, sufficient to get from London to Paris. Three 750-volt electric motors from YASA are rated at more than 500 horsepower combined, and they'll spin a custom-designed propeller mounted at the front of the plane.
There's a lot of technology wrapped up in this project. "We're monitoring more than 20,000 data points per second, measuring battery voltage, temperature, and overall health of the powertrain," says Parr. Rolls-Royce brought in experts from a variety of fields for this project, including some from the Formula E racing series. The team expects to begin testing this year, and to make a run for the record books in 2020.