The first all-The electric jetliner is just weeks away from its first flight, according to the manufacturer. The Eviation Alice has been running low-speed taxi tests since December and is ready to upgrade to larger and much faster versions. things.
The Alice was introduced in 2019 by the Israeli company Eviation and already has controls for the cargo version of Alice from shipping giant DHL, although neither version has ever flown before and the company doesn’t expect to take delivery until 2024. Testing of the aircraft should have been more advanced by now, but the bad weather and the COVID-19 pandemic have delayed testing. It underwent engine tests at Arlington Municipal Airport, north of Seattle, according to CNN:
With battery technology similar to that of an electric car or mobile phone and 30 minutes of charge, the nine-passenger Alice will be able to fly for one hour, and approximately 440 nautical miles. The aircraft has a maximum cruising speed of 250 knots, or 287 miles per hour. For reference, a Boeing 737 has a maximum cruise speed of 588 miles per hour. The company, which focuses exclusively on electric air travel, hopes electric planes that can carry 20 to 40 passengers will be a reality within seven to 10 years.
It doesn’t seem like a lot, but these little electric planes aren’t meant to carry hundreds of people over long distances. Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay told CNN that Alice would look more like a flying car than a jet (but better, because planes actually exist).
Proponents of electric aviation predict that Alice and electric planes like her will become as common as any other form of transportation. “It really embeds aviation into the fabric of transportation, of our commuter lives. It does this while being sustainable and being economically viable,” Bar-Yohay said. “Once we start seeing planes like this, the whole way we look at where we live, how we get around, how we go on vacation, is going to change. It’s going to be a trackless bullet train.
As CNN points out, the problem with turning big jets green is battery weight. Just like with electric cars, batteries add tremendous weight to the aircraft, which the aircraft must overcome with power, resulting in more battery weight, ad infinitum. Much lighter and more advanced battery technology will be needed before electric jets can replace the large, polluting planes we currently fly in. Considering that airplanes are huge polluters and have been dose Americans with lead-containing emissions for decades, that future cannot come soon enough.