The First All-Electric Airplane Prepares for Take-Off

Eric Sentell

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Electric airplanes are coming soonRoss Parmley on Unsplash

An Israeli company, Eviation, is set to make the world's first passenger flight with an all-electric airplane. In the not-too-distant future, living next to the airport won't be nearly as loud.

Nicknamed "Alice," the 9-person passenger plane uses a lithium battery similar to those in electric and hybrid cars. It can fly for one hour, or 440 miles, at 287 miles per hour.

Eviation describes the Alice as the "sustainable, affordable, quiet solution to regional travel." The Alice will restore the small, regional commuter flights and cargo deliveries that airlines phased out in favor of larger planes and cost-savings through "bulk" flying.

The push for electric, battery-powered airplanes became turbo-charged in the last year. Several start-ups are building electric planes, improving battery technology, or working on making airplanes lighter and more aerodynamic so they can use batter power.

Large aviation companies like Boeing and United are investing in researching and developing all-electric airplanes. Most of the projects focus on smaller passenger planes.

Current electric battery technology cannot power a large passenger jet with a transcontinental range. To provide the required power, the batteries would be so large that they would weigh several times more than the plane itself. With so much weight, the plane couldn't achieve lift-off.

We can, however, build smaller jets with less range. Those jets will have zero CO2 emissions and minimal noise. They will be able to operate closer to populated areas without suffocating people with air pollution and deafening roars.

With governments pledging to cut CO2 emissions and customers increasingly concerned about climate change, aviation companies are more interested than ever in making air travel more environmentally friendly.

But aviation companies are even more interested in saving money. Eviation claims that the Alice will be 70% less costly to operate and maintain than a conventional airplane of the same size.

The push for all-electric airplanes will continue, and likely accelerate in the coming years, because they are cheaper. They are a good business decision.

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