EViation takes Flight

September 13, 2021

85 percent of all flights are short haul.

Please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position. Make sure your seat belt is securely fastened.

Prepare for disruption.

Times of Israel:

Two years after unveiling, to much fanfare, a prototype for the first known all-electric airplane at the Paris Air Show in 2019, Israeli-American company Eviation Aircraft is preparing for the plane’s first test flight to usher in a “new age of aviation,” according to founder and CEO Omer Bar-Yohay.

The test flight for the aircraft, dubbed the Alice, was expected “before the end of the year” with the plane — now in its fifth iteration — in final assembly at Eviation headquarters in Arlington, Washington, just north of Seattle.

Bar-Yohay told The Times of Israel in a Zoom-facilitated interview from Arlington this month that the company was “excited” for the flight, which puts the Alice on a path toward approval by regulators and then, hopefully, service entry in 2024. “We are making three more planes for a total of four aircraft to accelerate certification over the next few years,” he said.

The Alice was originally conceived as a small, nine-passenger, fully electric commuter aircraft manned by a single pilot that would make regional trips as accessible as a train ride, but at a lower cost and with better service, according to the company. With a payload of 2,500 pounds (1.1 tons) and a range of 440 nautical miles (815 kilometers), the Alice would be available for passengers to book a ride by app for popular short-haul routes — say, San Jose to San Diego, London to Prague, and Paris to Toulouse. It’s a potential experience Bar-Yohay has coined an “Uber in the sky.”

The aircraft’s lithium-ion battery would require 30 minutes or less to charge per flight hour, Eviation says, as its mission is to make electric, zero-emission aviation a “competitive, sustainable answer to on-demand mobility.”

Bar-Yohay calls it a “new age of aviation” where “we are seeing a convergence of factors.”

“We have a product that is sustainable [the Alice is made of lightweight, composite materials], it is economically sustainable, as it is cheap to operate and maintain, and it is socially sustainable — this is a mode of transportation people want to use,” said Bar-Yohay.

Electric engines and battery technologies are driving a “third age of aviation” where “we have a maturity of elements and advanced materials, the social will, and the financial capabilities,” said Bar-Yohay.

Eviation snagged its first client, Massachusetts-based regional airline Cape Air, in 2019 just as it unveiled its Alice prototype. Cape Air, which operates 95 fleets in some two dozen cities throughout the US and the Caribbean, placed an order for Alice aircraft in “the double digits,” Bar-Yohay said at the time, at a price tag of $4 million per plane. The company then announced that two well-known but not-yet-disclosed American companies had also placed orders for the Alice, which now topped 150.

A few months later, Singapore-based conglomerate Clermont Group announced that it had bought a 70 percent stake in Eviation for an undisclosed amount, acquiring the company and injecting fresh capital into its operations. Clermont Group also owns electric motor manufacturer MagniX, which provides Eviation with two Magni650 electric motors for the Alice.

Eviation has attracted its fair share of attention in recent years, nabbing a spot on TIME magazine’s list of 100 “best inventions” two years ago (alongside eight other Israeli-founded companies), and winning a “World-Changing Ideas” Award in 2018 by US business magazine Fast Company.

Last month, Eviation revealed that global logistics and international shipping giant DHL had placed an order for 12 Alice aircraft in cargo configuration, the Alice eCargo, to set up an electric DHL Express network for “a pioneering step into a sustainable aviation future,” according to the company.

DHL announced in 2017 that it was embarking on an ambitious environmental protection plan to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero by the year 2050.

“We firmly believe in a future with zero-emission logistics,” said John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express, in a statement accompanying the announcement. “We have found the perfect partner with Eviation as they share our purpose, and together we will take off into a new era of sustainable aviation.”

6 Responses to “EViation takes Flight”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    For reference, here’s are the routes that one customer, Cape Air, flies.

    Boston to Hahtfod is < 45 minutes.
    Boston to Bah Hahbah ("fastest direct flight") is < 1 hour.

  2. redskylite Says:

    Meanwhile back on terra firma . .

    “With just four SKUs,” he says, “we’re able to cover 85% of the market’s needs. That was the goal: the least SKEs, the most coverage.”


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