The all-electric Jaguar I-PACE has been announced as the towing and support vehicle for a UK-led programme aiming to claim the electric flight speed record later this year, with a target of at lest 300mph. The Rolls-Royce
‘Spirit of Innovation’ team has already completed key ground-testing and taxiing ahead of the first test flights in a matter of months, ably supported throughout by the I-PACE.
The aircraft has been created by the ACCEL programme, short for ‘Accelerating the Electrification of Flight’, which includes key partners YASA, the electric motor and controller manufacturer, and aviation start-up Electroflight.
Rob Watson, Rolls-Royce Electrical director, said: “Rolls-Royce and Jaguar Land Rover
(JLR) are UK pioneers focused on advancing electrical technology for their respective sectors. We are delighted that JLR are loaning us I-PACE vehicles as we bid to develop the world’s fastest all-electric plane. It is important to us that the ACCEL programme was carbon neutral and this will be supported by having all-electric cars for ground support.”
The Spirit of Innovation features an electric motor propulsion system delivering over 500hp 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 394hp with power delivered by a ‘state of the art’ 90kWh lithium-ion battery featuring 432 pouch cells. Coincidentally, I-PACE is capable of 292 miles (WLTP) on a single charge – exactly the distance by road from London to Paris. With the ability to charge at 100kW, I-PACE drivers can add 78 miles of range in as little as 15min.
Rawdon Glover, JLR UK managing director, said: “The I-PACE is a real pioneer; when it launched in 2018 it was the world’s first premium all-electric SUV, establishing Jaguar as a leader in electrification and setting the brand on a path to become fully electric by 2025.
“We are delighted to be supporting another Great British innovator with the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ team, as they look to bring electrified aviation into the nation’s psyche with this incredible 300mph record.”
The ACCEL project highlights Rolls-Royce’s commitment to ensuring new products will be compatible with net zero operation by 2030, and all products will be compatible with net zero by 2050. Rolls-Royce will be using the technology from ACCEL and other electrification activity to bring a portfolio of electric and hybrid-electric products into the urban air mobility, commuter and more-electric 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.
Just as Spirit of Innovation will pave the way to a future of electrified flight, I-PACE is an all-electronic forerunner of Jaguar’s future. By the middle of the decade, Jaguar will have undergone a renaissance to emerge as a pure electric luxury brand with a dramatically beautiful new portfolio of emotionally engaging designs and pioneering next-generation technologies.