A prototype electric passenger aircraft called “Alice” took to the air over Washington State recently, taking off and landing successfully with nine passengers in the flight.
The brainchild of aerial engineering company Eviation is powered by two magni650 electric propulsion units and can go as fast as 298mph without producing any carbon emissions whatsoever.
As citizens near Grant County International Airport learned, the lack of jet engines and fossil fuels meant it was far quieter than a normal airplane.
Its test flight altitude of 3500 feet was far lower than the typical 33,000-42,000 of a commercial flight, but Eviation says the main purpose of the test was to “harvest invaluable data” that will help them move forward toward their aim of commercial production.
“Today we embark on the next era of aviation – we have successfully electrified the skies with the unforgettable first flight of Alice. People now know what affordable, clean, and sustainable aviation looks and sounds like for the first time in a fixed-wing, all-electric aircraft. This ground-breaking milestone will lead innovation in sustainable air travel, and shape both passenger and cargo travel in the future.”
Given the necessary nature of global air travel, this is an advancement that should excite nearly everyone. Aviation currently accounts for 2.5% of global carbon emissions and contributes to climate change in myriad other ways as well.
Two US-based regional airlines have put orders for the 125 Alice aircraft, and DHL confirms they have asked for a dozen Alice eCargo planes as well.
“The first flight of Alice confirms our belief that the era of sustainable aviation is here. With our order of 12 Alice eCargo planes, we are investing toward our overall goal of zero-emissions logistics. Alice is the true game-changer by enabling long-distance air transport for the first time with zero emissions. This historic flight marks a significant milestone on our journey to ultimately achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.”