Last week marked the first flight of an electric fixed-wing plane that its builders are not quite calling a super-hero feat, but which they say has the potential to transform regional aviation. The plane, called Alice, is from Eviation Aircraft in Washington State.
The first flight follows extensive testing and will ultimately lead to certification for passenger and freight service. Eviation is offering three models of the 300-mph plane with a range of 150 to 250 miles: a nine-seat commuter plane, a six-seater aimed at a business market and a cargo version that can haul over a ton of cargo.
The commuter version has orders lined up from two U.S.-based regional airlines, including Cape Air, which operates 400 daily flights to 30 cities in the U.S. and Caribbean, and Global Crossing Airlines. Cape Air has ordered 75 planes, and Global Crossing 50. DHL Express is the signed-up customer for the first 12 of the cargo version.
Eviation sees a long-term future for even the earliest planes, since it uses a proven motor system and is designed so that its range can extend as battery technology develops further.