Rolls-Royce has partnered with aircraft manufacturer Tecnam and Norwegian airline Wideroe to create a new electric passenger carrier, with the goal of having such an aircraft powered by regional short-haul flights by 2026. One of Scandinavia’s most important regional airlines is Wideroe in Norway, which is committed to environmental protection: it strives to operate modern, fuel-efficient aircraft in its fleet and is now also pioneering the development of electric propulsion. Therefore, the airline, the Italian aircraft manufacturer Tecnam and the British engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce are starting to jointly develop a new, purely electric, small type of passenger aircraft, the latter said. The airline has previously expressed interest in, for example, Hear Aerospace’s 19-seat concept and other similar developments.
The aim of the new project is for Wideroe to be among the first in the world to launch a purely electric machine by 2026. In addition, the development of electric-powered models is also actively supported by the Norwegian authorities: the local air traffic control service and the civil aviation authority want to be the first in the country by 2030, and by 2040 domestic aviation is envisioned with almost zero local emission aircraft. This attitude is also good for the RR-Tecnam duo, as it will make it easier for them to test and approve a multifunctional aircraft based on the Italian manufacturer’s P2012 Traveler, capable of carrying up to nine passengers, currently called the P-Volt. I want to launch the first prototype in 2025 at the latest.
The project will bring Tecnam’s existing, mature aircraft, while Rolls-Royce will be responsible for developing the new propulsion system. In the joint work, Wideroe represents the aspects of the airlines, and the operating instructions and procedures are planned and approved at the same time as the aircraft. In parallel, several companies are working on the development of a small electric passenger carrier, such as the Israeli Eviation, whose aircraft called Alice recently had to be radically redesigned. In contrast, Magnix’s joint projects with Harbor Air and Aero TEC included electric propulsion in existing aircraft as part of them, and both the de Havilland DHC-2 and the Cessna 208 Grand Caravan-based version completed their first flights.