Rolls-Royce and Scandinavian airline Widerøe say they can have an electric plane in service by 2026

Mar 16, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The race to develop the first green airplane is heating up.

Rolls-Royce and Italian planemaker Tecnam announced a new partnership with Scandinavian regional airline Widerøe to develop a fully electric passenger plane.

While a number of legacy companies and startups are working on electric flight, what’s notable about the new partnership is its ambitious timeframe: the companies say they’re aiming to have the plane ready for passenger service by 2026.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

The companies said they were focusing on developing a plane for the commuter market, which typically means a plane that seats 19 or fewer passengers. Rolls-Royce already had existing partnerships with both Widerøe and Tecnam.

The effort is likely a sign of things to come as the global aviation industry strives to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Airbus last year announced a new initiative to develop full-size hydrogen-powered aircraft by 2030, and other engine and airframe makers, such as GE, Honeywell, and Boeing are also investing in alternative fuel projects.

Widerøe is not the first European airline to collaborate with an electric planemaker. Low-cost carrier EasyJet partnered with U.S. startup Wright Electric to develop a fully electric commercial plane with the decade.

More:A Look Inside Eviation’s Alice, the All-Electric Plane Headed to Cape Air

However, basic battery engineering makes it difficult to design a large-scale electric plane, despite the success of some single-engine and prototype models.

Even so, the three partners are optimistic.

“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,” Rob Watson, director of Rolls-Royce Electrical, said in a press release. “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.”

Featured image courtesy of Rolls-Royce.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.