Rolls-Royce hopes to make its mark on the electric-aircraft speed record with a vision of breaking the 300-mph barrier in 2020.

The British engine maker is championing electric flight through developments such as the E-fan demonstrator, working with Airbus and Siemens on a hybrid-electric propulsion system on an Avro RJ100 regional airliner testbed.

But the company has also recognized that the general aviation market could allow it to develop electric systems much more quickly than with large-scale commercial or military programs. So, it has embarked on ACCEL — short for Accelerating the Electrification of Flight.

The company is working with British electric-motor manufacturer YASA and startup company Electroflight to adapt a Sharp Nemesis NXT racer to battery power. Nemesis’ own specifications claim the aircraft can cruise at 325 mph.

Matheu Parr, ACCEL project manager, says Rolls is focusing on battery, powertrain and motor technologies to beat the current speed record of 210 mph set in 2017 by an electric-powered Extra 330 aerobat modified by Siemens. Flight-testing of the electric Nemesis is planned for early 2020.

Ultimately, ACCEL envisions using a densely packed lithium-ion battery pack with 6,000 cells capable of delivering 750 kW of power. The batteries will power a trio of YASA-developed lightweight motors, with the propeller shaft running through all three.