Eviation, one of the foremost developers of upcoming regional electric aircraft, has released videos and photos of the nearly-finalized, full-scale prototype of its ‘Alice’ aircraft on the runway in a practice taxi. The all-electric aircraft will be able to seat 9-passengers and travel up to 440 nautical miles on a single charge.
Eviation first showcased its prototype at the Paris Airshow in 2019, while the company was officially established in 2015. Although Eviation did have a major setback in 2020, when one of its first prototypes was damaged in an electrical fire, it has bounced back extremely well, making rapid progress towards its goal of beginning commercial flights within the next few years.
Already, Eviation has made several successful partnerships with aircraft operators. These include DHL, which has pre-ordered 12 Alice aircraft, as well as an assortment of private buyers and operators that have brought Eviation’s pre-order count to over 150 aircraft.
The aircraft itself is particularly impressive, boasting a range of 440 nautical miles, room for 9 passengers plus 2 pilots, a maximum cruise speed of 250 knots (about 300mph), interior space of 450 cubic feet, and a payload capacity of 2500 lbs. Only 30 minutes of charging time will be required per flight-hour. Its fly-by-wire system is designed by Honeywell, and its 640-kilowatt electric motors are made by developer magniX.
According to CEO Omer Bar-Yohay, Eviation is very close to beginning flight tests of the Alice prototype. As the company moves forward, it is also working closely with both the FAA and EASA (European Aviation Safety Administration) in order to make sure the aircraft is in line with certification standards.
Several versions of the aircraft will be made available including a cargo version, a ‘commuter’ version which will be able to seat 9, and an ‘executive’ version which will be able to seat 6 with a more luxurious interior.
Why it’s important: Although Eviation’s all-electric aircraft is not the first in development, it is currently leading the electric regional aircraft market due to its significant size, which can carry 5 more passengers than the other market leader, Ampaire. If Eviation continues on its current trajectory, it can be expected to become one of the first creators of all-electric aircraft to reach commercial operations. While the Eviation Alice is not an eVTOL, its certification and development operations will help to normalize electric aviation, and will continue to encourage regulators to certify all-electric aircraft.
Source // The Drive, Flight Global, Eviation