Eviation Alice

The Eviation Alice is an electric aircraft designed to accommodate nine passengers and two crew members. Currently under development, its construction incorporates 95% composite material, is powered by two electric motors, and has a T-tail. The prototype first flew on 27 September 2022.[3]

Alice
Eviation Alice aircraft July 2021 configuration.jpg
The configuration unveiled in July 2021 features twin aft-mounted motors, a T-tail and a tricycle landing gear.
Role Electric aircraft
National origin Israel
Manufacturer Eviation Aircraft
First flight 27 September 2022[1]
Introduction planned 2027[2]
Status Under development

DevelopmentEdit

 
The prototype at the June 2019 Paris Air Show featured a single pusher propeller and twin wingtip motors, a V-tail, and a taildragger landing gear

Eviation was founded in 2015 by Omer Bar-Yohay, Omri Regev and Aviv Tzidon.[4] Risk-sharing partnerships have enabled work to go ahead.[5]

In February 2018, a 650 lb (290 kg) scale model UAV was flown to validate the aerodynamics and flight controls.[5] Kokam was selected to supply pouch lithium polymer batteries to power the full-scale prototype.[5] Work on the power system and drive train was begun.[5][6]

Eviation teamed up with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to launch a research and development program in the spring of 2019 at its Prescott, Arizona campus.[7] The program would focus on performance analysis, validation and testing, along with preliminary design and sub-scale testing of future electric propulsion and airframe design concepts.[7]

By early 2019, Eviation had secured $200 million of investment to cover certification and production while the first prototype was assembled in Vannes, northwest France.[8] In April 2019, Eviation selected MagniX Magni250s 375 shp (280 kW) electric motors turning at 1,900 rpm as an alternative power option to Siemens 260 kW motors.[9]

At the June 2019 Paris Air Show, a full-size static Alice was exhibited.[10]

The first airline customer was announced: Hyannis, Massachusetts-based Cape Air.[11] Cape Air ordered 92 aircraft, priced at $4 million each.[12] MagniX investor Clermont Group from Singapore took a 70% stake in Eviation Aircraft in August 2019.[13] By October 2019, over 150 Alice aircraft had been ordered by two American companies.[14] Further investment of $500 million was still needed to begin serial production.[14]

On 22 January 2020, a fire broke out and the prototype was destroyed,[15][16] but no-one was injured.[17] The fire broke out in an under-floor battery compartment located in the "operator/passenger area".[18]

On 18 May 2020, GKN Aerospace announced their partnership with Eviation on the design and manufacture of the wing, empennage and electrical wiring interconnection system of subsequent Alice airframes.[19]

New configurationEdit

By December 2020, Eviation expected to fly a modified Alice design in 2021, with the wing-tip motors relocated, before certification in the second half of 2023.[20]

In July 2021, Eviation unveiled the updated configuration with a T-tail and two 850 hp (634 kW) Magni650 electric powerplants on each side of the aft fuselage, aiming for a first flight the same year.[21] It should cruise at 220 kn (407 km/h, down from 240 kn), have 440 nmi range, 100 nmi (185 km) less than previously, be powered by an 820 kWh lithium-ion battery weighing 3,720 kg (8,200lb), down from a 920 kWh battery weighing 3,600 kg, would have a 6,350 kg maximum take-off weight, down from 6,668 kg, an altitude ceiling of 32,000 ft and a maximum payload of 1,134 kg.[21]

Taxi testing of the first production model began in December 2021 at Arlington Municipal Airport, north of Seattle.[22] In June 2022, it was announced that the prototype Alice was being moved to Moses Lake in Washington State, where first flight was hoped to occur by the summer of 2022.[23][24]

The aircraft had its first flight on 27 September 2022.[1] Following the first test flight, Eviation announced it has revised the proposed range from 440 nm to 250 nm. The projected service entry date has been delayed to 2027.[2] Before this range reduction, endurance at MTOW was planned at 2.8h.[25]

DesignEdit

Two variants of the Alice were originally planned.[26] The initial, unpressurized model is intended for air taxi operations, with energy stored in a lithium-ion battery. Eviation was working on building a prototype scheduled to fly in early 2019.[26] In 2017, a second pressurized model was to be an extended-range ER executive aircraft available by 2023 for $2.9 million, with a more powerful aluminum-air battery with a lithium-polymer buffer, a cabin pressurized to 1,200 m (4,000 ft) at FL 280, G5000 avionics, a 444 km/h (240 kn) cruise and 1,367 km (738 nmi) range.[26] In October 2019, Eviation described only the pressurized Alice Commuter with a 260 kn (480 km/h) cruise speed.[27]

With 260 Wh/kg cells, the 900 kWh battery capacity (3,460 kg, 7,630 lb) is initially estimated to give the design a range of 540–650 nmi (1,000–1,200 km) at 240 knots and 10,000 ft (3,048 m).[5] This is anticipated to increase as battery technology improves.[5] The batteries have been tested to more than 1,000 cycles, equivalent to 3,000 flight hours, and will then require replacement at a cost of $250,000 - half of the direct operating cost, similar to a piston engine overhaul.[5] Based on U.S. industrial electricity prices, the direct operating cost with nine passengers and two crew, flying at 240 kn (440 km/h), is claimed to be $200 per hour, which compares to $600–1,000 per hour for existing aircraft of similar purchase price such as the Cessna 402s, Pilatus PC-12 and Beechcraft King Air, for operations on routes under 500 nmi (930 km).[5][8] 45% of air routes fall within its 565 nmi (1,050 km) range at 260 kn (482 km/h), or 55% of airline flights according to Flightglobal's Cirium data.[9]

The electric drivetrain will have a higher voltage than current electrical systems.[5] Two 850 hp (630 kW) Magni650 electric motors will drive two propellers mounted on the aft fuselage.[21] The unpressurized aircraft has a flat lower fuselage.[5] The Italian company Magnaghi Aeronautica supplies landing gear and has already produced the gear for the similarly sized Piaggio P.180 Avanti.[5] It will be built with existing technology, including a composite airframe, propulsion from two Magnix electric engines[21] and Honeywell's flight control systems, including automatic landing.[7] At 3,700kg (8,200lb), the batteries account for 60% of the aircraft take-off weight.[11] Manufacturing is planned in the US.[10]

The company plans for recharging to be carried out by mobile charging vehicles, similar to aviation fuel trucks. Each hour of flight time is expected to require a charging time of 30 minutes.[7][28] The cells are similar to those from auto industry batteries.[20]

OrdersEdit

The first buyer for the Alice was Cape Air, a regional airline serving the Northeastern United States as well as the Caribbean.[29] In August 2021, Deutsche Post announced that it had ordered 12 aircraft for use by DHL to transport cargo, with delivery planned from 2024.[30][31] In April 2022, Eviation stated that Cape Air ordered 75 planes.[32] In September 2022, GlobalX Airlines ordered 50 aircraft, with deliveries starting in 2027.[33]

Specifications (intended)Edit

Data from Eviation[34]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 9 passengers
  • Length: 17.4 m (57 ft 1 in)
  • Wingspan: 19.2 m (63 ft 0 in)
  • Height: 3.84 m (12 ft 7 in)
  • Max takeoff weight: 8,346 kg (18,400 lb)
  • Commuter payload: 1,134 kg (2,500 lb)
  • Cargo payload: 1,179 kg (2,600 lb)[35]
  • Powerplant: 2 × magniX 650 Electrical Power Unit , 700 kW (940 hp) each

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 480 km/h (300 mph, 260 kn)
  • Range: 460 km (290 mi, 250 nmi) VFR, 30 min. reserve, LRC, MTOW
  • Take-off field Length: 840 m (2,750 ft)
  • Landing distance: 620 m (2,040 ft)

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Hemmerdinger, Jon (27 September 2022). "Eviation's Alice gets airborne for first time". FlightGlobal. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Eviation Aircraft Alice". FutureFlight. AIN Media Group. September 2022. Retrieved 29 October 2022.
  3. ^ Video: Watch world's first all-electric plane soar through test flight | CNN Business, retrieved 10 October 2022
  4. ^ Simon Griver (3 September 2019). "Clermont buys Israeli electric aircraft co Eviation". Globes.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Graham Warwick (26 February 2018). "Batteries Ready To Power Electric Regional Aircraft, Says Eviation". Aviation Week & Space Technology.(subscription required)
  6. ^ Grady, Mary (6 March 2018). "Eviation Chooses Battery Supplier". AVweb.
  7. ^ a b c d Lynch and, Kerry; Trautvetter, Chad (28 December 2018). "Eviation, ERAU Join Forces on Electric Aircraft". AIN online.
  8. ^ a b Kate Sarsfield (8 January 2019). "Eviation secures funding for all-electric Alice". FlightGlobal.
  9. ^ a b Jon Hemmerdinger (22 April 2019). "MagniX to supply Eviation Alice motors as all-electric advances". FlightGlobal.
  10. ^ a b "Eviation unveils electric airplane and plans flight tests in central Washington state". Geek Wire. 18 June 2019.
  11. ^ a b Kate Sarsfield (18 June 2019). "Cape air named as launch customer for the Alice electric aircraft". FlightGlobal.
  12. ^ "Electric Planes, Flying Taxis, Supersonic Jets: Paris Air Show Gives Us a Peek at the Future of Flight". Fortune. 22 June 2019.
  13. ^ Kate Sarsfield (30 August 2019). "Clermont acquires Eviation Aircraft". FlightGlobal.
  14. ^ a b "Orders for a new all-electric plane now top 150". Bloomberg L.P. 24 October 2019.
  15. ^ "First electric VTOL Lilium Jet prototype goes up in flames: Updated". FlightGlobal. 2 March 2020. Eviation's Alice fixed-wing prototype was destroyed by a blaze on 22 January that started in a ground-based battery system.
  16. ^ O'Connor, Kate (24 January 2020). "Eviation Electric Aircraft Prototype Damaged In Testing Fire". AVweb. Archived from the original on 28 January 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  17. ^ "Electric Plane Catches Fire Last Night". Plane & Pilot Magazine. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  18. ^ "Eviation Alice fire involved lithium-Ion batteries which ignited after hours of power plant tests". FlightGlobal. 20 November 2020.
  19. ^ "GKN Aerospace and Eviation sign Collaboration Agreement on Wing, Empennage and EWIS for Alice All-Electric Aircraft" (Press release). 18 May 2019.
  20. ^ a b Jon Hemmerdinger (16 December 2020). "Eviation tweaks Alice design, aims for 2021 first flight". FlightGlobal.
  21. ^ a b c d Jon Hemmerdinger (1 July 2021). "Eviation changes Alice design, performance specifications shift". FlightGlobal.
  22. ^ Gates, Dominic (14 February 2022). "Electric airplane CEO ousted ahead of 1st flight". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  23. ^ Podsada, Janice (7 June 2022). "Eviation moves tests of electric passenger plane to Moses Lake". HeraldNet. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  24. ^ Ostrower, Jon (6 June 2022). "Eviation relocates Alice to Moses Lake for maiden flight". The Air Current. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  25. ^ Jon Hemmerdinger (10 February 2022). "Eviation CEO details Alice's battery safety system, first flight 'days away'". FlightGlobal.
  26. ^ a b c Paul Jackson (8 October 2017). "Emerging Aircraft: Props And Turboprops". Aviation Week Network.
  27. ^ "Alice Commuter". Eviation. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  28. ^ "Eviation Secures 150 Total Orders for its All-Electric Commuter Aircraft". Transport Up. 26 October 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  29. ^ Spillane, Geoff. "Cape Cod-based Cape Air announced to fly all-electric plane". capecodtimes.com. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  30. ^ "DHL Express shapes future for sustainable aviation with the order of first-ever all-electric cargo planes from Eviation" (Press release). Deutsche Post DHL. 3 August 2021.
  31. ^ Broadbent, Mark (September 2021). "All about Alice for DHL". Air International. Vol. 101, no. 3. p. 6. ISSN 0306-5634.
  32. ^ Jon Hemmerdinger (15 April 2022). "Eviation says Cape Air will take 75 Alice aircraft, details scarce". FlightGlobal.
  33. ^ O'Connor, Kate (15 September 2022). "GlobalX Orders 50 Eviation Alice Electric Aircraft". AVweb. Archived from the original on 16 September 2022. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  34. ^ "Alice Specifications". Eviation.
  35. ^ "Eviation's Alice Achieves Milestone with First Flight of All-Electric Aircraft" (PDF) (Press release). Eviation. 27 September 2022.

External linksEdit