Rolls-Royce and Italian aeronautics manufacturer Tecnam are joining forces to deliver an all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market. The new plane is expected to go into revenue service with Widerøe, a regional airline serving Scandinavia, in 2026.
Rolls-Royce and Widerøe began a joint research program to evaluate and develop electric aircraft concepts in 2019. Rolls-Royce also has an existing strategic partnership with Tecnam to develop a modified Tecnam P2010 aircraft with the H3PS parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system.
Rolls-Royce will bring its expertise in propulsion and power systems to the collaboration, and Tecnam will provide aircraft design, manufacturing and certification capabilities. Widerøe’s mission will be to ensure that all requirements are in place to bring the e-plane into service in 2026.
The program aims to cover all elements of developing and delivering an all-electric passenger aircraft for the Norwegian market. Due to its topography, Norway makes extensive use of aviation for regional connectivity, and the country’s goal is to make all domestic flights zero-emissions by 2040.
The all-electric P-Volt aircraft, which is based on the 11-seat Tecnam P2012 Traveller, is ideal for routes in the North and West of Norway. Widerøe serves some 44 airports, and 74% of its flights have distances less than 275 km. The shortest flight durations are between 7 and 15 minutes.
“Norway’s extensive network of short take-off and landing airports is ideal for zero-emissions technologies,” said Widerøe Chief Executive Stein Nilsen.
“It is incredible to see the interest around the P-Volt, not only coming from regional airlines, but also from smart mobility-based companies,” said Fabio Russo, Chief Project R&D and Product Development, Tecnam. “This last year has demonstrated the importance of promoting capillary connections between small communities, while reducing the congestion of the main hubs. The P-Volt, like the P2012 Traveller today, will perfectly fit the scope of this program.”
Source: Green Car Congress