Alice, world's first all-electric passenger plane, takes to the skies for FIRST time in Washington

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The world’s first all-electric passenger plane took to the skies for the first time to reach an altitude of 3,500 feet during an 8-minute flight in Washington.

After years of development by Eviation Aircraft, the inaugural flight of the zero-emissions plane that’s powered by two 640-kilowatt electric motors went off without a hitch when it look off at 7:10 am on Tuesday from Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington. 

Alice is targeted for commuter and cargo markets and will typically operate flights ranging from 150 to 250 miles. For context, a standard flight from New York City to Washington, D.C. is about 206 miles by plane. 

The world's first all-electric passenger plane took to the skies for the first time to reach an altitude of 3,500 feet during an 8-minute flight in Washington

The world’s first all-electric passenger plane took to the skies for the first time to reach an altitude of 3,500 feet during an 8-minute flight in Washington

The inaugural flight of the zero-emissions plane that's powered by two 640-kilowatt electric motors went off without a hitch when it look off at 7:10 am on Tuesday from Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington

The inaugural flight of the zero-emissions plane that’s powered by two 640-kilowatt electric motors went off without a hitch when it look off at 7:10 am on Tuesday from Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington

Alice is targeted for commuter and cargo markets and will typically operate flights ranging from 150 to 250 miles. For context, a flight from New York City to Washington, D.C. is traveling about 206 miles by plane

Alice is targeted for commuter and cargo markets and will typically operate flights ranging from 150 to 250 miles. For context, a flight from New York City to Washington, D.C. is traveling about 206 miles by plane

The Alice aircraft will be available in three different configurations: a nine-passenger commuter, a six-passenger executive cabin and an eCargo version

The Alice aircraft will be available in three different configurations: a nine-passenger commuter, a six-passenger executive cabin and an eCargo version

During the inaugural flight, the motors sounded much quieter, more like electric grass trimmers, and the plane itself produced a noise that was more like a hum than the typical roar of a gasoline-powered jet.  

Alice will be available in three different configurations: a nine-passenger commuter, a six-passenger executive cabin and an eCargo version. All the configurations will support two crew members and the executive cabin and eCargo versions are identical to the commuter – except for the interior. 

Arlington, Washington-based Eviation has already inked a deal with DHL Express for 12 Alice eCargo planes; in addition, two regional airlines, Massachusetts-based Cape Air and Florida-based Global Crossing Airlines, have placed orders for 75 and 50 Alice aircraft respectively.  

‘Today we embark on the next era of aviation – we have successfully electrified the skies with the unforgettable first flight of Alice,’ Eviation president and CEO Gregory Davis said in a statement. 

'Today we embark on the next era of aviation - we have successfully electrified the skies with the unforgettable first flight of Alice,' Eviation president and CEO Gregory Davis said in a statement. Above: The interior of the commuter version of Alice

‘Today we embark on the next era of aviation – we have successfully electrified the skies with the unforgettable first flight of Alice,’ Eviation president and CEO Gregory Davis said in a statement. Above: The interior of the commuter version of Alice

'This ground-breaking milestone will lead innovation in sustainable air travel, and shape both passenger and cargo travel in the future,' Eviation president and CEO Gregory Davis said. Above: Alice will be used for moving cargo around the U.S.

‘This ground-breaking milestone will lead innovation in sustainable air travel, and shape both passenger and cargo travel in the future,’ Eviation president and CEO Gregory Davis said. Above: Alice will be used for moving cargo around the U.S.

The plane was first unveiled more than three years ago at the Paris Air Show. The company has put its prototype through a year of assembly and ground testing - and the work seems to have paid off. Above: the galley in the executive version of Alice

The plane was first unveiled more than three years ago at the Paris Air Show. The company has put its prototype through a year of assembly and ground testing – and the work seems to have paid off. Above: the galley in the executive version of Alice

‘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.’

The name Alice comes from the Lewis Carroll novel Alice in Wonderland. Back when the company was just starting out in 2016, one of its co-founders, Omer Bar-Yohay, was working while Jefferson Airplane’s song White Rabbit was playing in the background. He started calling the project Alice, and the name just stuck. 

Back when the company was just starting out in 2016, one of its co-founders, Omer Bar-Yohay, was working while Jefferson Airplane’s song White Rabbit played in the background

Back when the company was just starting out in 2016, one of its co-founders, Omer Bar-Yohay, was working while Jefferson Airplane’s song White Rabbit played in the background

The plane was first unveiled more than three years ago at the Paris Air Show. The company has put its prototype through a year of assembly and ground testing – and the work seems to have paid off. 

‘It was wonderful,’ test pilot Steve Crane said, according to GeekWire. ‘It handled just like we thought it would. Very responsive, very quick to the throttle, and it came on in for a wonderful landing. I couldn’t be happier.’

Crane explained that the relatively short flight was intended to be the first in a series of ‘baby steps’ for the test program. ‘Today was just about the initial envelope,’ he told reporters. ‘For future tests, we’ll expand that envelope.’ 

If things proceed as planned, Eviation hopes to win certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and hit the market by 2027.

The company has also had to pivot and adjust as the technology powering all types of electric vehicles has evolved over the years.  

‘What we’ve learned is a lot, and one of the key things that’s driving the development of our program is the advancement of battery technology, right?’ Davis told GeekWire. 

‘So we’re being, I will say, entirely honest with ourselves about what we’re going to be able to achieve. … It’s all going to be based on getting the batteries to converge to the development cycle for the aircraft.’ 

The technology publication reports that Eviation had put a $4 million price tag on the plane three years ago, but that Davis declined to specify a cost this week. 

If things proceed as planned, Eviation hopes to win certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and hit the market by 2027

If things proceed as planned, Eviation hopes to win certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and hit the market by 2027

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