An Electric Plane From Rolls-Royce Just Had Its First Flight

Spirit of Innovation makes its debut

Rolls-Royce Spirit of Innovation
The Rolls-Royce Spirit of Innovation in mid-air.
Jane Stockdale/Rolls-Royce plc

With climate change on the minds of travelers and policymakers alike, it’s not surprising to know that aircraft emissions are prompting heated debate just as much as electric vehicles are. In the last year, we’ve seen plans for a massive airship that could be transporting people in a few years, along with major airlines announcing forays into zero-emissions travel. And now, the latest developing in this emerging industry comes from a name very familiar to luxury travelers. Rolls-Royce’s latest airborne endeavor recently completed its first flight.

Writing at Engadget, S. Dent has more information on “Spirit of Innovation,” which took to the air for the first time on September 15. The flight, which lasted for 15 minutes, is intended to be the first of several jaunts designed to explore the plane’s capabilities.

In Rolls-Royce’s announcement, they declared that Spirit of Innovation has “the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft.” The test flight took place at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, England; given time, Rolls-Royce hopes that the aircraft will reach speeds of 300 miles per hour.

This isn’t Rolls-Royce’s only foray into electric aircraft. The announcement of the successful flight also noted that Rolls-Royce is working with Tecnam and Widerøe to create a series of regional electric aircraft, with a goal of revenue service beginning in 2026.

It’s an impressive debut, with a striking design and a promising amount of engineering behind it. As first flights go, Spirit of Innovation is off to a promising start.

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