Seattle: In a major milestone towards zero-emissions medium-range air travel, a prototype, all-electric aeroplane took its maiden flight in the state of Washington, in the United States, on Tuesday.
‘Alice’, developed by the startup Eviation, is built to carry nine passengers and two pilots. It took off at 7.10 am local time from Grant County International Airport and made a short, eight-minute circuit, reaching an altitude of 3,500 feet before coming in and touching down.
If the US Federal Aviation Administration eventually certifies Alice to carry passengers, it could become the first all-electric commercial airplane.
Eviation’s goal is to show such electric planes are viable as commuter aircraft flying at an altitude of about 15,000 feet.
The plane, designed by engineers in Washington state and Israel, is powered by 21,500 small Tesla-style battery cells.
“Today we embark on the next era of aviation – we have successfully electrified the skies with the unforgettable first flight of Alice,” said Eviation President and CEO Gregory Davis.
“People now know what affordable, clean and sustainable aviation looks and sounds like for the first time in a fixed-wing, all-electric aircraft. This ground-breaking milestone will lead innovation in sustainable air travel, and shape both passenger and cargo travel in the future.”