The first passenger plane that uses only electric power has finally taken off. Tuesday was the first flight of the Eviation Aircraft Alice, which had been put off by a number of issues and delays.
The first Alice flight lasted 8 minutes. The EV plane took off Tuesday morning from Grant County International Airport in Washington at an altitude of 3,500 feet.
The plane's top speed is 260 knots, or slightly under 300 miles per hour, and it's powered by two 640 kW (858 hp) electric engines, although battery capacity has yet to be confirmed.
Gregory Davis, the CEO of Eviation, says the company wants a maximum range of 200 to 300 nautical miles. This would let the passenger plane fly between 150 and 250 miles.
The Alice will carry two pilots and up to nine passengers, with a maximum load of up to 2,600 pounds.
Of course, the EV passenger plane's test flight on Tuesday was without passengers. According to test pilot Steve Crane, this is simply the first in a series of small steps.
The company expects that production models of the Alice will be available and FAA-certified by 2027, although this is subject to change.
Battery innovation is advancing quickly, which will effect Alice production positively and negatively. Eviation might boost plane performance with lighter, more energy-dense batteries.
Three years ago, Eviation stated that the plane will have a list price of $4 million. Now that the price of valuable battery metals has risen, Eviation advises customers not to depend on the initial prices.
Airlines will almost certainly have to spend far more by 2027, and with a nine-passenger capacity and up to 250 miles of range, it may not appear to be a bargain. But it's a start.
The cargo version, like the passenger version, will have limited capacity in comparison to standard planes. However, fully-electric planes are just now getting off the ground.