London, United Kingdom
On July 15, 2018, in conjunction with the Farnborough International Airshow 2018, Rolls-Royce announced (the aerospace power systems manufacturer, not the car manufacturer) that it was developing an eVTOL aircraft (Rolls-Royce refers to their concept aircraft as the "EVTOL" or the "EVTOL Project").
Rolls-Royce says that "The initial concept vehicle uses gas turbine technology to generate electricity to power six electric propulsors specially designed to have a low noise profile. It also has a battery for energy storage. In this hybrid-eVTOL configuration it could carry four or five passengers at speeds up to 250mph [400 km/h] for approximately 500 miles [800 km], would not require re-charging – as the battery is charged by the gas turbine – and would be able to utilize existing infrastructure such as heliports and airports."
The hybrid-electric system would use the RR Model 250 in the rear of the aircraft to generate electricity to the four propellers on the tilting wing and two on the tilting tail. In cruise flight, the wing propellers could stop and fold, with the aircraft flying solely on the tail propellers to reduce noise and energy consumption.
According to Thomson Reuters, "The company is looking for an air-framer and a partner to provide aspects of the electrical system to help commercialize the project."
Rolls-Royce's description of its "EVTOL" concept aircraft:
- Flexible aircraft platform for personal, commercial passenger, cargo and military applications
- Tilting wings for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL)
- At cruise height the propellers on the wing fold away to reduce drag and cabin noise, the craft then uses the two rear propellers for thrust
- Versatile 4/5 seat cabin
- Range 500 miles, cruise speed 250 mph
- M250-based hybrid propulsion system
- The M250 hybrid electric engine will deliver approx. 500kW electrical power
- High energy density battery to provide additional climb power
- 6 propulsion/lift motors with embedded power electronics
- Offering customers new capability at vehicle, system and component level
- Rolls Royce website
- Rolls Royce social media pages
- News release, Blue sky thinking – Rolls-Royce unveils EVTOL concept at Farnborough Airshow, Rolls-Royce, July 15, 2018
- News release, Electrifying the future, Rolls-Royce, July 15, 2018
- Twitter post, Rolls-Royce, July 15, 2018
- Article: Rolls-Royce EVTOL flying taxi concept packs electric propulsion, Road Show, July 16, 2018
- Article: Rolls-Royce to work with airframe manufacturers, seek partners for EVTOL project, SAE, July 19, 2018
- Article: Rolls-Royce Ready to Electrify M250 for Future EVTOL, Rotor & Wing, July 26, 2018
- Video: Rolls-Royce reveals electric propulsion system for urban mobility aircraft, We Are FINN, August 7, 2018