While electric drones are already being utilized for recreation, transport, and agricultural purposes, what about electric airplanes? Right now, larger electric aircraft are still being developed. One Israeli startup is convinced they can finally make commercially-available electric aircraft a reality.
Eviation plans to bring their electric airplane, called the Alice, to market by the year 2021.
An Optimistic Goal
The Alice will be able to hold up to nine passengers. This is less than most commercial airplanes, but as the company develops more electric planes they can also work on creating larger aircraft.
The plane will be built mostly from composite materials and powered by three propellers. It will also be controlled by fly-by-wire, which replaces typical manual flight controls.
The Alice is estimated to last up to 650 miles in between charges, and it could reach a cruising speed of around 276 miles per hour.
While Eviation is confident in its ability to create their electric airplane, getting ready for market by 2021 is still a very optimistic goal. There are a lot of costs involved with creating the plane, and a lot of safety tests need to be done to guarantee the safety of future passengers.
The company may already have some clients lined up, as they expect to sell at least a few dozen airplanes within the first year they are available on the market.
Electric aircraft can bring benefits for both passengers and the environment.
Electric motors are quiet, so the noise will be less annoying to passengers and those that live near airports. Electric motors also cost less to maintain, and this could eventually lead to a reduction in the overall costs of flights.
Since electric airplanes are charged and recharged on the ground, they don’t produce emissions during the actual flight. This will help cut down on the environmental impact of airplanes and reduce the number of pollutants in the air.
Right now, one of the biggest problems in the development of electric airplanes is the battery.
Flying requires a lot of energy, and passengers wouldn’t be happy if their plane constantly needed to make stops to recharge. Eviation needs to have a battery that will last for long trips and will be durable enough to last over time.
Costs and safety can also be an issue in the development of electric aircraft. It’s imperative that the planes are proven to be safe and stable. Building an aircraft is not cheap because cutting corners isn’t usually a viable or smart option.
Right now, one of the biggest competitors for Eviation is the German company, Siemens. Siemens is also working on developing electric airplanes, and in 2017 they partnered with Rolls-Royce Holdings to develop “Airbus E-Fan X”, a hybrid-electric aircraft.
There have already done some ground-tests for this aircraft, and while they haven’t gotten things worked out just yet, a big partnership can definitely help things to move along at a fast pace.
Other competitors include the company Zunam Aero, which is working with Boeing and JetBlue and Wright Electric, a startup company that is working with British carrier airline, EasyJet. Zunum Aero has been working on its hybrid electric regional aircraft since 2013, and they are aiming to make their aircraft available by the year 2022. Wright Electric, which was formed in 2016, has done some testing and has plans to develop a 180-seat aircraft by 2027.
The People Behind Eviation
Eviation was founded in 2015 in Israel.
Aviv Tzidon is the active chairman, and Omer Bar-Yohay is the CEO. Tzidon has founded over ten companies and also serves as the founder and CEO of Phinergy Ltd., an energy-based startup company. Bar-Yohay has fifteen years of experience working with diverse teams and companies.
Eviation has been working with professionals that are knowledgeable of flight and aviation, in order to ensure that their plane is safe and effectively designed.
Looking to the Future
While Eviation does not plan to completely change the airplane manufacturing process, they do want to make an impact. Right now, Eviation is mainly focusing on shorter flights, but in the future, there may be a chance to increase the distance their planes will fly. The company wants to make electric-aircraft more of a norm, and they want to change the way people go about flying.