The first all-electric passenger plane has taken to the skies.
Eviation Aircraft, an Israeli company, successfully launched the Alice Tuesday morning from Washington’s Grant County International Airport. For its inaugural flight, the zero-emission plane flew at 3,500 feet.
Gregory Davis, Eviation’s president, and CEO stated that “this is history.” Since the conversion from the piston engine into the turbine engine, we haven’t seen the propulsion technology on an aircraft. This was the last time that you saw a completely new technology such as this in the 1950s.
The nine-passenger Alice can fly for about an hour and 440 nautical miles using battery technology similar to an electric car. The maximum speed at which the plane can cruise is 250 knots or 287 miles an hour. A Boeing 737 can cruise at 588 miles an hour, while a Boeing 737 is capable of cruising at 250 knots.
Eviation was established in 2015 and has been driving Alice forward since then. Eviation warns that this plan could change. However, the company plans to use the information from Tuesday’s flight to evaluate the next steps and deliver aircraft by 2027.
Davis stated that the aircraft had generated terabytes with its data acquisition systems. He said that they would review the data over the next few weeks to compare the performance of the aircraft to their models and analyze. “From there we’ll know what to do next.”
According to the company, it plans to continue developing an FAA-certified airplane through 2025. Then it will conduct flight testing for a year before it can deliver to Alices.
Prototypes of three versions of the Alice are currently in development: one for commuters, one for executives, and one that is geared toward cargo. The commuter configuration can hold nine passengers, two pilots, and 850 pounds of cargo. For a more spacious flight, the executive design offers six seats and a cargo plane that holds 450 cubic feet.
The journey Alice to take off was not without difficulties. The delays caused by the delay of the flight meant that Alice would not fly before 2021. Eviation was hit by executive turnover, weather problems, and delays that delayed testing. This resulted in fleet launches being delayed for years and take-off dates being delayed. CapeAir, a commuter airline, is expected to have a fleet in service by 2023. It serves routes throughout Boston and Cape Cod. However, the purchase of Alices has been delayed. The plane will be purchased by DHL and Miami-based charter airline GlobalX.