Alice, which is made by an Israeli company Eviation, has been built and is gaining certification from aviation regulators. It is not a pipe dream and uses available technology.
It is a composite aircraft with one propeller at the rear and another at the end of each wing, placed to cut drag from wingtip vortices. Each is driven by a 260 kW electric motor, and they receive power from a 900 kWh lithium ion battery pack.
Alongside its 650 mile range, the pressurised $3 million-plus Alice can carry nine passengers and two crew, and cruise at 276 mph.
It can’t manage jet speed, but Eviation chief executive Omer Bar-Yohay, “operating costs will be just seven to nine cents per seat per mile”, or about $200 an hour for the whole aircraft. A current turboprop needed about $1,000 an hour.
The electric motors are from Siemens, the propellers from Hartzell, the avionics from BendixKing, and the fly-by-wire control system from Honeywell. The lithium-ion batteries are from Kokam.
The company is currently building two aircraft and aims to have one flying early next year. A full-size plane will feature at the 2019 Paris air show (June 17 through 23)—a one-third demonstrator was at the French event last year. “Certification is expected in 2021”, said Bar-Yohay.
The planes cause less pollution, require less maintenance and are a lot quieter.