All-electric passenger plane completes test flight

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An all-electric passenger plane called Alice took off for the first time yesterday, marking an important turning point for carbon-free aviation. The commuter plane carrying nine passengers took off from Grant County International Airport in Washington State at 7.10am yesterday.

Alice is awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to carry passengers and will become the first commercial electric aircraft as the United States attempts to eliminate global warming pollution caused by aviation emissions.

The introduction of all-electric aircraft like Alice has the potential to reduce pollution from shorter distances between small regional airports. Alice’s manufacturer, Eviation, is targeting commuter and cargo flights of between 150 and 250 miles, the equivalent of a flight from New York City to Boston or Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

The eight-minute test flight, which reached an altitude of 3,500 feet, gathered data to improve the design of the aircraft before it could take off with passengers on board.

Alice will be available in three variants: as a commuter aircraft for nine passengers, as a luxury aircraft for six passengers and as an e-cargo plane. The small size is due to the battery capacity.

Eviation also expects flight tests and certifications to take several years. “It appears that we will have some fairly favorable battery technology available to us in five years,” Eviation CEO Greg Davis tells the Times. As a result, Alice may not fly commercially until 2027.

The Sources for this piece include an article in TheVerge.

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