“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
(Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll)
The rather sleek looking all electric aircraft known as Alice, caught many eyes as she recently basked on the runway at the 2019 Paris Airshow.
With a claimed range of around 650 miles and the ability to fly at 10,000 feet, could Alice present us with an exciting glimpse into the future of sustainable air travel? Siemens and Magni X are to supply the plane’s electric motors, that help it reach an advertised cruise speed of 260 knots, or approximately 300mph.
Manufacturers Eviation Aircraft Ltd have stated on their website that ‘We’re bridging distances and opening a range of new destinations accessible for on-demand transportation by enabling emission-free air travel for the price of a train ticket.’
According to flight global, somewhere in the region of half the worlds air travel is comprised of journeys under 650miles, making electric planes such as Eviation’s Alice, appear to be an increasingly viable option for shorter distances. If electric planes are indeed set to take over the skies, it is likely to be a gradual change over a number of decades. However as the UK moves toward the impending 2040 ban on petrol and diesel cars, one thing seems very clear, electric is going to play a large role in the future of transport.
It all sounds very exciting indeed doesn’t it. So when can we realistically expect to see Alice silently propelling her way through the clouds?
Well, Eviation’s chief executive Omar Bar-Yohay says that he expects US airline Cape Air to make a double digit order of the new electric planes, where they will service passenger commuter routes in the US. Eviation plan to obtain certification for Alice with US organisation the Federal Aviation Administration, by 2021 and say that their electric plane should be in use by the following year. Omar’s full presentation at the Paris Airshow is available to watch on Youtube.
Just as with electric cars, it is hopeful that given time, lighter materials and more efficient batteries will continue to make electric aircraft more accessible. If this is the case, eventually it may become common to see them silently grace our skies. Larger aviation companies such as Airbus are already researching electric aircrafts. Other companies in the aviation industry are offering electric ground support vehicles, which is encouraging because a report by Sustainable Aviation revealed that ground support vehicles made a significant contribution to airport related emissions.
So, could Heathrow Airport someday be a haven of tranquility? Watch this air space.