Scandinavian regional airline Wideroe will introduce Tecnam’s new all-electric P-Volt aircraft into commercial service on scheduled routes starting in 2026. Rolls-Royce Electrical is developing a propulsion system for the nine-passenger aircraft, which is based on Tecnam’s existing P2012 Traveller twin-piston model.
Italy-based Tecnam and Rolls-Royce’s new electric propulsion division announced plans to develop the P-Volt in October 2020. Since 2018, the companies have worked on a program to convert the four-seat P2010 aircraft to hybrid-electric propulsion using the H3PS1 propulsion system developed jointly by Rolls-Royce and Rotax.
Rolls-Royce established its Electrical division in 2019, following the aero engines group’s acquisition of the Siemens eAircraft business. In the same year, Rolls-Royce and Wideroe started a joint research project to evaluate options for introducing electric aircraft.
The P-Volt’s short takeoff and landing capability make it suitable for services to the many small airports that Wideroe serves across Norway. Prior to the Covid pandemic, the airline operated 400 daily flights in 44 airports, with around three-quarters of the routes stretching less than 275 km (172 miles). The Norwegian government is pressing for the introduction of electrified aircraft on domestic flights from 2030 to meet its objective of an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2040.
Wideroe has not specified exactly how many of the P-Volt aircraft it will buy as the program’s launch operator, but in its March 11 announcement chief executive Stein Nilsen indicated that it might start taking deliveries in 2025. Its fleet currently consists of a mix of larger 40 Bombardier Dash 8 twin turboprops and three Embraer E190-E2 twinjets. The company has not said how many of those aircraft it will retain for longer routes and services into larger airports but it plans to deploy the P-Volt mainly for flights in the north of Norway and along the country’s long west coast.
A pair of 375-hp Lycoming TWO540C1A piston engines power the existing P2012, whose range just exceeds 1,000 miles. The P-Volt’s range will likely be significantly shorter, but Tecnam hasn't yet confirmed that aspect of its performance.