Aircraft

Eviation prepares to fly Alice, its stunning luxury electric plane

Eviation prepares to fly Alice...
The Alice runs three variable-pitch electric props, two on the wing tips and one at the tail designed to accelerate air around the body and develop extra lift
The Alice runs three variable-pitch electric props, two on the wing tips and one at the tail designed to accelerate air around the body and develop extra lift
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The Alice runs three variable-pitch electric props, two on the wing tips and one at the tail designed to accelerate air around the body and develop extra lift
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The Alice runs three variable-pitch electric props, two on the wing tips and one at the tail designed to accelerate air around the body and develop extra lift
A schmick-looking cabin
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A schmick-looking cabin
Well-appointed passenger seats
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Well-appointed passenger seats
The Alice seats nine plus two crew
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The Alice seats nine plus two crew
The Eviation Alice prototype at the 2019 Paris Air Show
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The Eviation Alice prototype at the 2019 Paris Air Show
Eviation has received the first of its Magnix electric motors, as it prepares for flight testing of the Alice electric aircraft
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Eviation has received the first of its Magnix electric motors, as it prepares for flight testing of the Alice electric aircraft
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Washington-based company Eviation is preparing for the first test flights of its gorgeous Alice, an all-electric 9-seat luxury plane with an impressive 440 nautical mile (506-mile, 814-km) range from a single charge of its huge 820-kWh battery pack.

The company says it's just taken delivery of its first electric motor, one of three Magnix Electric Propulsion Units the Alice will use to power its three variable pitch pusher props, one on a pod at the end of each wing and a third on the tail. The latter is designed to accelerate fast-moving air around the fuselage and turn the whole body into a bonus wing surface for extra lift.

The prototype is certainly a striking looking aircraft, all space-age looking with its big v-tail and that tastefully squashed high-lift fuselage. Once everything's all hooked up, it'll carry crew and passengers at cruise speeds up to 253 mph (407 km/h), and Eviation says the low noise output of its electric powertrain will make a solid contribution to the comfort factor in the back.

Well-appointed passenger seats
Well-appointed passenger seats

For any electric aircraft, 506 miles is a pretty solid range figure at this point, and in order to manage that the Alice needs to carry a monstrous 8,200 lb (3,720 kg) of lithium-ion battery – more than half of the aircraft's 14,700-lb (6,668-kg) maximum takeoff weight. It's built from the ground up using lightweight composite materials to compensate.

Eviation says the Alice and other early electrics like it will be the start of a price-driven snowball in the aviation business. Similar to electric cars, they'll likely be more expensive up front than a traditional fuel-burning plane due to the high cost of lithium batteries – but their vastly reduced maintenance and fuel costs will make them a ton cheaper to run. Eviation is betting that it won't take too long before fossil burners are struggling to compete – at least in this size class and for shortish flights of 500 miles (805 km) or less.

It sure will be nice to see Alice in the air.

Source: Eviation

View gallery - 6 images
17 comments
17 comments
Captain Moonlight
Lear Fan anyone?
Also, I suppose the tail-dragger undercarriage is to prevent prop-strike...
dan
safety first! 100 years of aviation history has proven the safety benefits of tricycle undercarriages. tail-dragger undercarriage can have advantages for bush planes etc., but for commercial aircrafts it is not a good idea, even if it could help reducing mass in order to try to fly electrically. Safety first, right?
guzmanchinky
What an amazing piece of engineering. But I'm curious how much the battery ate into the luggage storage? Still, can't wait to see this thing fly...
PB
At that weight the pilot must have a type rating.
Range - fly to destination, plus an alternate, plus 45 minutes (per FARs) - this has enough practical range to get to Las Vegas from Sthn California, but then will have to sit for a day to recharge the batteries.
Innovative, but if it had one turbine powered pusher in the tail it could fly for 2000 miles. Electric is impractical.
Nelson Hyde Chick
It appears to be bolted together using rivets, so it is aluminum instead of carbon fiber, a step backwards.
Bill S.
In the real world of business aviation, I can say with no pun intended, this thing will never fly.
BlueOak
Impressive performance claims if they can deliver. Especially doing so with 11 passenger capability.
Mark Hays
The sleek Alice, along with others, prove that electric power is practical for aircraft. Cape Air in Massachusetts already signed a contract with Eviation for more than 10 planes. Cape Air plans to charge the new Alice aircraft using energy generated from the airport’s solar arrays. With fast DC charging, the Alice can turnaround in just 70 minutes. (No "overnight" stay as another poster claimed.) The CEO of Cape Air noted, "“An electric motor is just amazing. To give you an idea, the electric motors we’re talking about going forward have roughly a 20,000-hour life cycle, whereas the engine on our current aircraft has a 2,000-hour life.” Anyone who owns aircraft knows what this means for service / maintenance costs. See: www.aviationtoday.com/2019/10/12/ifs-world-2019-cape-air-ceo-talks-benefits-challenges-launching-future-electric-flights/
clay
Those wingtip motors are gonna be a handful on take-off (or landing) when one of them fails. I am thinking about the *hugely* asymmetric thrust vector.
vince
Sock it to em EViation. EVolution at its best.