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Jaguar Land Rover providing I-PACE EVs for ground support for Rolls-Royce’s electric flight speed record attempt

Rolls-Royce’s all-electric aircraft the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ (earlier post) will take to the skies for the first time in the coming weeks as it works towards a world-record attempt with a target speed of 300+ mph (480+ km/h). The current speed record for an all-electric plane—set by Siemens in 2017—is 210 mph.

This project will be carbon neutral and to support this ground-breaking innovation Jaguar Land Rover is loaning all-electric Jaguar I-PACE cars as towing and support vehicles.


The aircraft has been created by the ACCEL (Accelerating the Electrification of Flight) program, which includes key partners YASA, the electric motor and controller manufacturer, and aviation start-up Electroflight.

The aircraft features three power-dense 750R electric motors, designed and manufactured by YASA. The 6,000 cells of the battery pack are packaged for maximum lightness and thermal protection. An advanced cooling system can withstand the extreme temperatures and high-current demands during flight.

The all-electric powertrain will run at 750 volts and delivers 90% energy efficiency.


For safety and performance optimization, sensors will collect in-flight information each second across more than 20,000 points on the powertrain, measuring battery voltage, temperature and general performance metrics.

Half of the project’s funding is provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK. The ACCEL team has continued to innovate while adhering to the UK Government’s social distancing and other health guidelines.

The Spirit of Innovation features an electric propulsion system delivering 500 hp+ with the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft, providing enough energy to fuel 250 homes or fly London to Paris on a single charge.

The I-PACE uses two electric motors producing a total of 394 hp with power delivered by a 90 kWh Lithium-ion battery featuring 432 pouch cells. Coincidentally, the I-PACE is capable of 292 miles (WLTP) on a single charge—exactly the distance by road from London to Paris.

The ACCEL project is part of Rolls-Royce’s journey towards enabling the sectors in which it operates reach net-zero carbon by 2050. Rolls-Royce will be using the technology from the ACCEL project and applying it to products for the market, bringing a portfolio of motors, power electronics and batteries into the general aerospace, urban air mobility and small commuter aircraft sectors.

In a similar vein, the Jaguar Racing Formula E team’s experiences on-track help generate real-world improvements in Jaguar’s roadgoing electric vehicles. Several members of the ACCEL project team have come from Formula E backgrounds.

Both Rolls-Royce and Jaguar Land Rover are dedicated to decarbonizing their footprints. Rolls-Royce has halved the greenhouse gas emissions associated operations and facilities since 2014 and is on track to meet a 2030 target of net-zero emissions from operations. The company has also committed to ensuring new products will be compatible with net-zero operation by 2030, and all products will be compatible with net zero by 2050. Jaguar Land Rover is aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across its supply chain, products and operations by 2039.

The ACCEL project represents a series of firsts for Rolls-Royce, including being the first Rolls-Royce project to use offsetting to make the whole program carbon-neutral.


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