Rolls-Royce and airframer Tecnam are joining forces with Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Norway, to deliver an all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market, ready for revenue service in 2026.
Before the pandemic, Widerøe offered around 400 flights per day, using a network of 44 airports, where 74% of the flights have distances less than 275 km. The shortest flight durations are between seven and fifteen minutes. Developing an all-electric aircraft will enable people to be connected in a sustainable way and will fulfil Wideroe’s ambition to make its first all-electric flight by 2026. The all-electric P-Volt aircraft, which is based on the 11-seat Tecnam P2012 Traveller aircraft, is ideal for the short take-off and landing, as well as for routes in the North and the West Coast of Norway.
“Norway’s extensive network of short take-off and landing airports is ideal for zero emissions technologies. This aircraft shows how quickly new technology can and will be developed, and that we are on track with our ambition of flying with zero emissions around 2025.”Stein Nilsen, Chief Executive, Widerøe
Rob Watson, Director at Rolls-Royce Electrical, said: "Electrification will help us deliver our ambition to enable the markets in which we operate achieve net zero carbon by 2050. This collaboration strengthens our existing relationships with Tecnam and Widerøe, as we look to explore what is needed to deliver an all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market".
The programme will look to cover all elements of developing and delivering an all-electric passenger aircraft, one that could be used in the Norwegian market from 2026. Due to its topography, Norway makes extensive use of aviation for regional connectivity and has an ambition for all domestic flights to be zero emissions by 2040. Widerøe’s mission will be to ensure that all competence and requirements of an airline operator are in place for entry into service in 2026.
Fabio Russo, Chief Project R&D and Product Development at Tecnam, said: "It is incredible to see the interest around the P-Volt, not only coming from regional airlines but also from smart mobility-based companies. 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 programme. We are honoured and pleased to see the level of enthusiasm Widerøe and our partner Rolls-Royce are dedicating to this project".