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Sunday, March 14, 2021

Rolls-Royce partners with aerospace manufacturers to produce electric aircraft

 UK aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls Royce has partnered with aerospace manufacturer Tecnam and Scandinavia's largest regional airline, Wideroe, to produce a new battery powered aircraft.

Rolls-Royce engines

The partners aim to launch an all-electric passenger aircraft for commuters in Norway by 2026, building on previous work by Rolls Royce and Tecnam on an all-electric aircraft called the P-Volt. The aircraft is only expected to travel short distances. Around 74pc of Wideroe's flights were at distances below 275km, with the shortest flights between seven and 15 minutes.

"This collaboration strengthens our existing relationships with Tecnam and Wideroe as we look to explore what is needed to deliver an all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market," Rolls Royce Electrical director Rob Watson said. "It also demonstrates Rolls-Royce's ambitions to be the leading supplier of all-electric and hybrid electric propulsion and power systems across multiple aviation markets."

Several other aerospace manufacturers have plans for battery powered aircraft, including Airbus with the CityAirbus and Boeing's eVTOL. Most are short range aircrafts designed to ferry people between cities or from airports to city centres. Electric aircraft could open a new mass market for batteries, further driving demand for battery metals such as lithium and cobalt.

The P-Volt programme is expected to transport passengers across Norway's rocky and mountainous terrain, reducing long journey times by ground travel. It is based on the 11-seat Tecnam P2012 traveller aircraft, which already runs routes in Norway. A joint research project on the P-Volt was announced in 2019.

"Norway's extensive network of short take-off and landing airports is ideal for zero emissions technologies," Wideroe chief executive Stein Nilsen said. "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 by around 2025."

Norway has pledged to reduce emissions on domestic flights by 80pc by 2040 and have a fully functioning electrified domestic flight market by 2030. The project will also receive funding from the EU's Horizon 2020 program

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