All-Electric Eviation Aircraft Completes Taxi TestBy Antonio Gozain | Tue, 09/20/2022 - 17:41
Eviation's all-electric aircraft Alice successfully performed a series of high-speed taxi tests as it prepares for its first official flights. The trials tested the aircraft’s systems as it prepares to enter the market in 2024.
Alice, which was initially announced at the 2019 Paris Airshow, is a nine-passenger, two-crew-member aircraft that produces zero carbon emissions, significantly reduces noise and offers significant cost savings per flight hour compared to jet aircraft. Alice is designed to have a cruise speed of 405 km/h, a maximum range of 815 km and a payload of 1,100 kg.
The aircraft is powered by two magni650 electric propulsion units supplied by magniX, in addition to an advanced fly-by-wire system produced by Honeywell. Eviation aims to fit the specific niche of sub-500-mile routes that can be conducted with existing battery technology.
A few days before the taxi tests, Greg Davis, CEO, Eviation, told AviationWeek that “the high-speed taxi-testing is going to be a critical milestone for us so we can validate all our aerodynamic models with those speeds. And then first flight proves that the system is integrated right.”
Preflight high-speed taxi tests culminated in runs up to rotation speed. “You get the aircraft right up there and then you essentially do a very gentle rejected takeoff. We have a 13,500 ft.-long runway so you do not have to go hard on the brakes,” said Davis.
About half the world’s air travel is less than 500 nautical miles, resulting in a flight time of one and a half to two hours, said Davis. This segment is critical for the size of the aircraft and passenger configuration, he added.
Called “the world’s first all-electric commuter aircraft” by Eviation, Alice will be focused on providing premium solutions for small-scale travel. The aircraft will arrive in three configurations: commuter, cargo and executive. The commuter edition will seat nine passengers in addition to two crew members.
US regional carrier Cape Air announced it signed a letter of intent to purchase 75 of the commuter variant of Alice. The airline currently flies about 400 regional flights daily to over 35 cities. On the other hand, DHL has already eyed the cargo edition of the aircraft. The logistics company announced an order for 12 aircraft last year, which it aims to employ to shuttle priority packages from major hubs to smaller locations.
An executive version of Eviation’s airplane is also in development. This version will include an accessible side panel with a foldable table, a personal power outlet and up to 385 kg worth of storage, among other features.