WATCH: First All-Electric Airplane Prototype Takes First Flight
By Jason Hall
September 28, 2022
The plane, known as "Alice," lifted off in Central Washington at around 7:10 a.m. and reached an altitude of 3,500 feet before landing about eight minutes later.
Alice, which is capable of carrying nine passengers and two pilots, was designed and built by Eviation, an Arlington, Washington based startup, in an effort to showcase the potential of an all-electric commercial commuter aircraft for travel between cities at an estimated altitude of 15,000 feet.
The plane is powered by more than 21,500 small Tesla-style battery cells, which "make up fully half the weight of the carbon composite airframe," which is slightly more than four tons, according to the Seattle Times.
The plane uses electric motors designed and built by magniX, an electric motor manufacturer based in Everett, Washington.
The technology aims to provide a zero-emission, sustainable era in air travel, but whether it can become a commonplace has yet to be determined.
On the eve of the plane's flight, Eviation CEO Greg Davis told the Seattle Times that the prototype that flew on Tuesday is not the same design the company plans to build later.
Davis admitted that the company needs to make advances in battery technology that still haven't been developed for its planes to be commercially viable.
“Are the batteries on the prototype aircraft capable of propelling the certification aircraft, capable of providing sufficient energy? The answer is no, absolutely not,” Davis said.