VIDEO: First electric commercial plane makes maiden test flight | Innovation

The world’s first commercial electric plane performed a maiden test flight on Tuesday, after years of development on the ground.

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The aircraft, named Alice, flew for eight minutes and reached an altitude of 3,500 feet (about 1 km). It then landed at Grant County International Airport in Washington, United States.

The project was developed by Eviation Aircraft, which disclosed some characteristics of the plane:

  • Max operating speed: about 482 km/h (260 knots);
  • Maximum load: around 1,100 kg (2,500 lb) in the passenger version;
  • Available in three versions, one for nine passengers, one with an executive cabin for six passengers and one for cargo transport. All support two crew members;
  • powered by two electric propulsion units;
  • trips are quieterdue to the electrified thrusters.

Aircraft, called Alice — Photo: Reproduction / Twitter Eviation

Alice, the model of Eviation’s electric plane — Photo: Reproduction / Twitter Eviation

The Alice plane was created to operate on regional routes, working as a faster, more comfortable and energy efficient alternative than vans and minibuses.

According to Eviation Aircraft, the flight made it possible to check the power of the electric motors. The test is part of a series of steps carried out by the company to certify the safety and efficiency of the aircraft.

The company expects to use the information collected to review the performance and next steps of the project before the aircraft is delivered to customers. The units are expected to be ready in 2027, but the plan is subject to change.

“This groundbreaking milestone will lead to innovation in sustainable air travel and shape passenger and freight travel in the future,” said Gregory Davis, President of Eviation Aircraft.

Richard F. Chandler, president of Clermont Group, majority shareholder of Eviation and Greg Davis, president and CEO of Eviation, congratulate Steve Crane, test pilot — Photo: Reproduction / Twitter Eviation

Alice’s maiden flight came more than three years after the first prototype was unveiled. Since then, the Israel-based company has moved its base of operations to the US.

Other electric plane projects are in the works, such as the Embraer prototype and the Rolls-Royce aircraft.

Eviation development team assembling Alice’s prototype — Photo: Disclosure / Eviation

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