Technology Update: Electric Passenger Airplane Gets Off the Ground

Brian McCowan, Zondits staff, 10/17/2022

Late last March, Zondits reported that the all-electric passenger plane Eviation Aircraft Alice had completed engine testing and was being prepared for its first test flight. As often occurs with groundbreaking technology, there have been delays. But now Alice has been successfully test flown and Eviation Aircraft is moving forward with the project.

CNN reported that the test flight lasting only eight minutes was “short and sweet.” The plane flew 3,500 feet in the skies near Seattle, Washington. For the test, the plane carried no passengers, but according to Eviation is designed to carry nine passengers at a maximum speed of nearly 300 miles per hour, with a range of 150 to 250 miles.

In our previous article we noted that Cape Air, amongst other routes, provides passenger and cargo flights between the Boston area and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The flight distance from Boston’s Logan Airport to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard is 90 and 70 miles respectively, putting round-trip flights to those destinations well within the aircraft’s design capabilities.

Eviation CEO Gregory Davis told CNN Business, “This is history, we have not seen the propulsion technology change on the aircraft since we went from the piston engine to the turbine engine. It was the 1950s that was the last time you saw an entirely new technology like this come together.”

Eviation also reports that advancements in the battery technologies they use are happening quickly, but at significant financial cost. They warn that the initial cost projections of $4 million should not be relied upon, as the battery improvements will result in cost escalation, but also improved aircraft performance. They also report that a lot of technical analysis and development is ahead and expect that production models of Alice to be certified by the FAA by 2027.

A video of Alice’s first test flight can be viewed here.

More details: World’s First All-Electric Passenger Plane Takes its Maiden Flight

Zondits’ original article: Electric airplane, Alice, set to begin test flights