Rolls-Royce develops the fastest electric aircraft in the world
Rolls-Royce announced that it was going to create the fastest electric aircraft in the world. She will realize this project not herself, but together with several partners who will join the work at different stages of work.
As a result, it is planned to create a plane that runs on electricity, which is able to reach speeds of 480 km / h. The previous record belongs to Siemens, the company created its own aircraft with electric motors, which was able to pick up speed at 338 km / h. Siemens built its Extra 330LE aircraft on the basis of a turboprop acrobatic aircraft.
The development of the electric aircraft is carried out under the program Accelerating the Electrification of Flight (ACCEL), which adheres to Rolls-Royce. The program is partly funded by the UK government, partly at the expense of participating companies. ACCEL employs specialists who are responsible in one way or another for the development of Formula E - a program for creating high-speed electric vehicles.
The aircraft will have a battery with 6 thousand cells. The company claims that this is the highest density of batteries in a battery installed on an aircraft. It allows you to provide 750V and 750 kW, which is enough for 250 households. The electric aircraft will receive a special cooling system that will help the aircraft to cope with the heating of various elements.
According to the developers, the most difficult thing is not just developing a battery with a high capacity and density of components, but creating an appropriate cooling system (active). The aircraft will be driven by three 750R electric motors from YASA. The propeller of one engine operates at 2400 rpm.
The aircraft will be equipped with sensors that will capture the characteristics of 20 thousand points of the electric aircraft. Thus, the project participants will receive a lot of useful information that will help in the future to design similar systems.
The project is not commercial, but serves to demonstrate the capabilities of electric motors and vehicles powered by electricity. The first flight is supposed to be made in 2020.
Of course, this is not the only electric aircraft in the world. For example, in the UK they are developing another high-speed aircraft of this kind, on which representatives of Nottingham University and Air Race E start-up work. He will also see the sky in 2020.
But the most famous, albeit low-speed, electric aircraft is the Solar Impulse 2. Its wingspan is 72 meters, its mass reaches 2.3 tones. It receives energy from the solar batteries placed on wings (from here such scope) and the body. The total number of solar cells reaches 17248. Its speed is small - from 50 to 140 km / h, but no one was going to make it fast.
On this plane, two pilots made a world tour, having covered a total distance of 40,000 km. It all started on March 9, 2015, the most difficult part of the journey was 8000 km, it was a flight across the Pacific Ocean from Chinese Nanjing to American Hawaii. Here in Hawaii, the plane spent several months, because its batteries were out of order. And only then did the second leg of the flight take place, after which the plane landed on the San Francisco Bay. The pilots, despite the complexity of the flight, were healthy and satisfied with the record.
Developers of aircraft on electricity seek to prove that the use of alternative energy sources, in addition to combustible substances, is possible and necessary. Only a few years ago it was considered a delusional fantasy, but, as we see, more and more companies and individuals are engaged in new projects. Yes, the distance that electric airplanes are able to cover (except Solar Impulse) is small, but there was no time and electric cars had a very small power reserve. Now electric aircraft and hybrid versions of aircraft are becoming more sophisticated and long-range. Perhaps in a few years some of them will be able to operate as a commercial vehicle.