First flight for Eviation’s all-electric Alice 9-seat airliner

Eviation Aircraft has successfully completed the first flight of its all-electric 9-seat airliner, named ‘Alice’ after Lewis Carroll’s title character from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Alice lifted off at 7:10 a.m. from Grant County International Airport (MWH) on Tuesday, 27 September, and flew for 8 minutes at an altitude of 3,500 feet.

“Today we embark on the next era of aviation – we have successfully electrified the skies with the unforgettable first flight of Alice,” said Eviation President and CEO Gregory Davis.

“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.”

Eviation says Alice produces no carbon emissions, significantly reduces noise, and costs a fraction to operate per flight hour compared to light jets or high-end turboprops. Eviation Alice is targeted at commuter and cargo markets, and will typically operate flights ranging from 150 miles to 250 miles.

Cape Air and Global Crossing Airlines, both US-based regional airlines, have placed orders for 75 and 50 Alice aircraft respectively. DHL Express is Eviation’s first cargo customer, with an order of 12 Alice eCargo planes.

“The first flight of Alice represents a transformational milestone for the aviation industry,” said Cape Air Founder and Board Chairman Dan Wolf. “We currently fly more than 400 regional flights per day, connecting more than 30 cities across the United States and Caribbean. Alice can easily cover 80 percent of our flight operations, bringing sustainable, emission-free travel to the communities we serve.”

Richard F Chandler, chairman of Eviation’s owners, Clermont Group,  and Greg Davis, president and CEO of Eviation, congratulate Alice test pilot Steve Crane. Photos and video: Eviation Aircraft

“The first flight of Alice confirms our belief that the era of sustainable aviation is here,” said Geoff Kehr, Senior Vice President, Global Air Fleet Management, DHL Express.

“With our order of 12 Alice e-cargo planes, we are investing towards 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.”

However, after the flight, Eviation CEO Gregory Davis sounded a note of caution.

“The biggest challenge Eviation has to overcome is the batteries,” he told Flight Global. “We really do need the industry to boost the energy density of the cell level. If we have a breakthrough in battery technology, we can pull it [the timeline] forward. If the battery technology lags, we might push out the delivery date.”

Eviation is pursuing certification through US FAA Part 23 rules, which apply to aircraft with no more than 19 seats.

Eviation Alice Fast Facts
Two Magnix Magni650 electric motors, each producing 700kW
Max take-off weight 8,346kg
Max useful load: 1,134kg for passenger version, and 1,179kg for cargo version
Empty weight: 7,167kg
Max range 250nm
Max operating speed: 260 knots