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World’s first all-electric airplane, the Eviation Alice, completes first test flight

Highlights

  • The Israeli-U.S. startup flew around Moses Lake for the test run
  • This all-electric airplane uses 21,500 small battery cells and weighs a little over 4 tonnes
  • Eviation’s CEO said the company’s next step is to produce an airplane for the marketplace

We’re headed towards a future where every automobile will be at least partially electrified, and airplanes aren’t exempt from this phenomenon. Electric airplanes aren’t particularly new to us, with several innovators working on an electrified flying vehicle in some form, including startup Eviation which has been developing the all-electric airplane, Alice, inspired by the Lewis Carroll novel, ‘Alice in Wonderland.’

Well, Eviation has just concluded a test flight of the Alice prototype this week, marking a significant milestone in its development. The test was conducted in Moses Lake, Washington State, around 200 kilometres from Seattle.

Eviation Alice - 2

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The Alice airplane managed to reach altitudes of up to 15,000 feet and flew through nearby cities for around 8 minutes until landing safely on the runway, The Seattle Times reports. People below could reportedly hear the sounds generated by the electric airplane’s propellers as it flew over the cities.

This electric aircraft was developed jointly by the research teams in Israel and Arlington (Washington State). It leverages 21,500 small-sized battery cells, enabling the team to keep the weight of the aircraft down to just over 4 tonnes.

“What we’ve just done is made aviation history. This is about changing the way that we fly. It’s about connecting communities in a sustainable way,” Eviation CEO Greg Davis told The Seattle Times.

However, Davis is aware of the technology’s limitations, saying “Are the batteries on the prototype aircraft capable of propelling the certification aircraft, capable of providing sufficient energy? The answer is no, absolutely not.”

“What’s next is actually producing an airplane for the marketplace. This is an amazing achievement, but this is just a milestone in terms of where we’re headed.”

Regardless of the limitations of an all-electric airplane, this is no doubt a momentous occasion for the aviation industry. While questions will be asked about the cost and feasibility of all-electric aircraft as a means of transporting people, continued research and development of battery technologies would hopefully bring the costs down.

Source: The Seattle Times

Via: GadgetsNow

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