Watch Alice, the world’s first all-electric commuter aircraft, as it takes to the skies

The nine-seater commuter plane is set to become the first all-electric airplane to enter commercial service.
Deena Theresa
Eviation’s all-electric Alice airplane took off at 7:10 am Pacific time.
Eviation’s all-electric Alice airplane took off at 7:10 am Pacific time.


Alice, the "world's first all-electric commuter aircraft" lifted off overnight, making history in electric aviation. Eviation Aircraft, the manufacturer, notes the event as a major milestone toward zero-emissions medium-range air travel.

Alice lifted off at 7:10am from Grant County International Airport, flying for eight minutes and reaching an altitude of 3,500 feet (1,067 m) before touching down. The "trailblazing" flight provided Eviation with invaluable data that can further optimize the aircraft for commercial production.

"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. "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 to innovation in sustainable air travel, and shape both passenger and cargo travel in the future."

The electric airplane was propelled by two electric motors spinning two propellers near the tail, with energy from 8,000 pounds of batteries. The aircraft hit a speed of about 171 miles per hour during its brief flight.

Watch Alice, the world’s first all-electric commuter aircraft, as it takes to the skies
Richard F. Chandler, Chairman, Clermont Group, Majority Shareholder of Eviation and Greg Davis, President and CEO of Eviation, congratulate Steve Crane, Test Pilot.

Not not your average electric aircraft

The brief, successful flight was right on the heels of a high-speed ground test that the company conducted on September 18.

In comparison to light jets or high-end turboprops, Alice significantly reduces noise and costs a fraction to operate per flight.

Now, small air taxis like Beta Technologies (Alia) have flown their electric aircraft before. But, Alice was a milestone for a specific sector of aviation that focuses on carrying small amounts of people, nine in this case, across short distances. According to the makers, the all-electric aircraft will make regional travel more economically and environmentally sustainable for businesses and consumers.

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"This new generation of aircraft has the power to transform communities by providing access to airports not currently used by commercial flights due to noise concerns or restricted operating hours. Eviation Alice is targeted at commuter and cargo markets, and will typically operate flights ranging from 150 miles to 250 miles," the statement said.

Watch Alice, the world’s first all-electric commuter aircraft, as it takes to the skies
Creating a greener, sustainable future with Alice.

Major commercial and tech challenges ahead

Nevertheless, Alice is only an experimentally registered prototype, not a fully certified production aircraft. Eviation has to run it through a rigorous flight test regime, get the commuter aircraft certified under the Federal Aviation Administration's Part 23, and ship it to its customers such as DHL or Cape Air. According to Davis, the company hopes to make its first deliveries in 2027.

If the FAA certifies Alice to carry passengers, it could become the first all-electric commercial airplane, The Seattle Times reported.

Eviation also awaits further battery technology advancements to make the design commercially viable. Currently, it is powered by 21,500 small Tesla-style battery cells.

"The biggest tech challenge that Eviation has to overcome is the development of the batteries—that couldn’t be more clear,” Davis said. "It’s looking at the evolution of the chemistry and the physics around those batteries. Of course, we are able to control how we integrate them, and how we optimize them from a design perspective for the aircraft, but we really do need the industry to boost the energy density."

Undoubtedly, Alice is a huge leap forward in electrical aircraft. It ushers in an era of sustainable aviation and marks a turning point in our journey to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

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