The electric age in aviation is upon us. Airbuses and air taxis will be powered by all-electric aircraft in the near future. No fuel, carbon emissions, or noise pollution was admitted.
Eviation’s all-electric aircraft Alice provides an affordable, sustainable and quiet solution to regional travel, according to the company’s website. It would be suitable for commuters, executives, and cargo transport. It provides a range of 288 miles and a passenger capacity of nine.
Alice made its maiden flight on September 28, and already the company has seen an uptick in orders from U.S. and European regional airlines.
“There have been three revolutions in aviation,” said Richard Chandler, chairman of the Clermont Group, in a recent CNBC interview. Clermont Group is a majority shareholder of Eviation. “The first one was the first flight by the Wright brothers in 1903 with a piston engine. The second was the jet age in the 1940s. And this is the third great revolution in aviation, which is the electric age.”
Because the aircraft don’t use jet fuel, it costs about 50% less to operate vs. a normal combustion engine aircraft.
Seattle-based Eviation expects Alice to become commercially available by 2027. But orders and letters of intent are already flying in.
Over a year ago, DHL Express ordered 12 zero-emissions, fully electric Alice eCargo planes from Eviation. Then in April, it signed a deal with Cape Air for 75 all-electric Alice commuter aircraft. Massachusetts-based Cape Air is one of the largest commuter airlines in the U.S, with 400 regional flights a day to nearly 40 cities in the Northeast, Midwest, Montana, and the Caribbean.
“Cape Air remains committed to sustainability, growth, and innovation, and our partnership with Eviation allows for these commitments to become a reality,” said Cape Air president and CEO Linda Markham. “Our customers will be at the forefront of aviation history, and our communities will benefit from emission-free travel.”
In September, Global Crossing Airlines Group (GlobalX) signed a letter of intent to order 50 Alice aircraft. The Miami-based provider of passenger and cargo charter jets will open up new routes for passenger travel in its key markets, such as Florida, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean.
“Charter travel is attractive to both individuals and groups as it offers flexibility, privacy, and convenience,” said Eviation president Gregory Davis. “Alice represents a pioneering approach to making this type of aviation sustainable for generations to come.”
GlobalX plans to offer the aircraft to its tour operators, cruise lines, leisure travel providers, and business clients for short-haul flights. The company has committed to becoming a net-zero carbon emissions airline by 2050.
The most recent news was the intent of Germany-based EVIA AERO to purchase 25 Alice aircraft. The regional airline plans to use the all-electric aircraft for primary point-to-point travel within Germany, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Austria.
“For anywhere where there’s a geographical boundary, but relatively close destinations, (Alice) is a perfect choice,” said Chandler.
In addition, looking out into the future, he said that independence of Eviation is key.
“When you have a very passionate and talented team, focusing on innovation which is going to transform an industry, I think independence is very important to protect the culture and identity of that organization,” Chandler explained.