Test flights of the Rolls-Royce ‘world's fastest’ all-electric aircraft took place on Boscombe Down last week. 

Rolls-Royce said their ‘Spirit of Innovation’ plane set new World Records over three different distances, which have been submitted to the World Air Sports Federation for verification. 

Test pilot and Rolls-Royce director of flight operations Phill O’Dell achieved the maximum speed in the plane of 387.4 mph (623 km/h) during test runs at UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down experimental aircraft testing site on November 16.

He described this as a ‘momentous occasion and said: "This is the highlight of my career and is an incredible achievement for the whole team. 

“The opportunity to be at the forefront of another pioneering chapter of Rolls-Royce’s story as we look to deliver the future of aviation is what dreams are made of.”

The aircraft reached a top speed of 345.4 mph (555.9 km/h) over 3 kilometres, according to Rolls-Royce.

This more than 132mph (213.04km/h) faster than the existing world record which was set by a Siemens eAircraft powered Extra 330 LE Aerobatic aircraft in 2017.

Under Electroflight Test Pilot, Steve Jones, the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ also achieved 532.1km/h (330 mph) over 15 kilometres which is 292.8km/h (182mph) faster than the previous record. 

The third world record Steve Jones is believed to have broken on the test flight is the fastest time to climb to 3000 metres, which the aircraft achieved in 202 seconds beating the current record by 60 seconds.

Rolls-Royce CEO Warren East said:“Following the world’s focus on the need for action at COP26,  this is another milestone that will help make ‘jet zero’ a reality and supports our ambitions to deliver the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land and sea.”

The aircraft was propelled on its record breaking runs by a 400kW electric powertrain which Rolls-Royce described as ‘the most power-dense propulsion battery pack ever assembled in aerospace’. 

The advanced battery and propulsion technology was developed for the programmwith aviation energy storage specialist Electroflight and automotive powertrain supplier YASA.

Government Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Rolls-Royce’s revolutionary Spirit of Innovation aircraft is yet more proof of the UK’s enviable credentials when it comes to innovation. 

“This record will show the potential of electric flight and help to unlock the technologies that could make it part of everyday life."

Rolls-Royce announced in June its pathway to net zero carbon emissions a year on from joining the UN Race to Zero campaign. 

They’ve committed to ensuring new products will be compatible with the net zero operation by 2030 and all products will be compatible with net zero by 2050.

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