The first real electric passenger plane

Eviation startup has unveiled its all-electric regional aircraft at the Paris Air Show, which is scheduled to be licensed by 2021 if the money is available.

The Israeli-based company Alice’s fancy-name aircraft could be the first all-electric-powered rigid-wing aircraft to carry passengers commercially. Type certification will begin soon in Presscott, Arizona, with the participation of the Embry-Riddle University of Aeronautics (ERAU), but would already be on track for schedule, with the first take-off due in May-June. The other big problem, Omer Bar-Yohay, CEO of Eviation, said they would need at least $ 200 million to complete the test program and start series production, which is not yet available, but much depends on the partner companies as well. They have already agreed with some supplier companies, which, together with Eviation, will bear the risks of the program and the cost of adapting their systems to Alice. According to the head of the company, one of the most important of these is Honeywell, which also supplies the central unit of electronic fly-by-wire steering control and cockpit instruments, which has recently focused on systems for alternative propulsion and city aircraft.

Also key are the machine’s batteries, which have a capacity of 900 kilowatts, supplied by Kokam in South Korea. At the end of the wings, there are two electric motors with a total output of 520 kilowatts from Siemens, and the 280 kilowatt power at the rear of the machine is provided by Magnix in the first round. Eviation wants a secondary supplier for each major component to give customers a choice, as is the case with some traditional commercial types, such as gearboxes. The Alice’s empty, unoccupied weight is far more than its closest competitor and can thus be used as a benchmark for the Cessna C208 Caravan, which in its basic configuration is designed to carry nine passengers in the same way as the Israeli electric aircraft.

In return, Eviation wants to be able to cut Alice’s hourly operating costs to $ 200 or even less with economical, long-life high-capacity batteries. Thus, its operation would be 20% more favorable compared to a turboprop machine of the same size, which would be a good start for the company in the market.

However, the disadvantage of the first design presented is that, in contrast to the 1890-kilometer range of the gas-turbine Cessna C208, Alice can only fly 1,000 kilometers on a single charge, but in return this route is 25% faster at 240 knots (approx. 440 km / h). you can do it at cruising speed. The expected features have so far been able to convince a single airline, the Massachusetts-based regional company Cape Air, which has signed a letter of intent – but all that is known is that it is a double-digit amount. If it is indeed commercialized and series production is launched, the price of an Alice will be around four million US dollars.

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