Air New Zealand eyes Alice electric plane for regional travel

Air New Zealand eyes Alice electric plane for regional travel
Alice electric plane with Air New Zealand livery
Alice electric plane with Air New Zealand livery
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Alice electric plane with Air New Zealand livery
Alice electric plane with Air New Zealand livery
Render of the Alice airplane in flight
Render of the Alice airplane in flight

The world of electric aviation is full of possibility, but one area where these next-gen aircraft could have a near-term impact is in regional travel. Covering short distances with zero emissions is the modus operandi for fledgling startups like Eviation, whose all-electric Alice plane has caught the eye of Air New Zealand as the carrier works to reduce its carbon footprint.

Israeli’s Eviation first revealed its all-electric Alice plane at the Paris Air Show in 2019, and then in September of this year finally took it to the skies on its maiden flight. The quiet nine-seat aircraft runs on two props and covers around 288 miles (463 km) on each charge, traveling at speeds of up to 299 mph (481 km/h) along the way.

These capabilities slot in nicely with the vision outlined in Air New Zealand’s Mission NextGen Aircraft program, aimed at ushering in the era of zero emission aircraft. This involves efforts to swap out its conventional domestic fleet with sustainable aircraft running on green hydrogen and battery hybrid systems.

“Regional flights make up a sizable proportion of Air New Zealand’s routes,” said Gregory Davis, President and CEO of Eviation. “The Alice offers an effective way to decarbonize these journeys, revolutionizing air travel and supporting the goals of the Mission NextGen Aircraft program.”

Render of the Alice airplane in flight
Render of the Alice airplane in flight

Air New Zealand has signed a Letter of Intent for up to 23 Alice Aircraft under the Mission NextGen Aircraft Program. The move makes it the first national flag carrier to commit to Eviation’s Alice aircraft, with the first demonstration flights slated for 2026.

"Mission NextGen Aircraft represents a significant commitment to the development of sustainable aircraft and the supporting infrastructure needed to decarbonize our domestic flights," said Greg Foran, CEO of Air New Zealand. "Eviation's all-electric Alice aircraft is a natural fit for the program with its proven technology that is optimized for short-range flights."

Source: Eviation

I wonder why there are what look like air inlet ducts on the motor housings. They seem rather large for cooling purposes.
Steven Clarkson
Outstanding these electric birds Scream efficiency ! Get them in the air already !!
Big motors require big escs. Big escs require big cooling that sits right inside these big ducts is Perfect cooling !
Ideal for inter-island hops in Hawaii, and all over California?
They should take these to Europe! Oh wait - those morons just outlawed *all* short-haul flights because ... pollution. No, they didn't outlaw **pollution**, they outlawed ALL short-haul flights. So many stupid people, so much government that needs to be done...
Howie, at lower altitudes, air is warmer and the need for more cooling air on the electric motors is real. (That's my SWAG, anyway.)
I really like the look of that aircraft.
Not bad, but the range needs to be doubled or tripped. There is also the question of how long it takes to charge it up.
In Europe, short haul flights represent a waste of resources and diversion from the high-speed rail network that can actually get passengers from city center to city center using less energy, faster and more cheaply than an aircraft, plus all the farting around/queuing getting into and out of large and congested airports, both for passengers and aircraft.

The equation changes where older ground transport is all that is available. But even then, if I travel the 765 km with my wife from Melbourne to Adelaide by car, from point to point it takes 8-9 hours compared to 4 hours by plane. But at the end of the journey, I have not only saved money on airfaires, but I do not have to rent a car at the other end, on top of my airfares.
I think that is really good for short flights but I think longer flights would require a different fuel; hydrogen would be clean and give the range.