The Paris air show is the place to be for modern electric urban air mobility (UAM) startups trying to get their technology in front of the competition in this new air mobility phase.
One notable announcement from the event is that Personal Airline Exchange has purchased the entire fleet of Ampaire aircraft, including the prototypes that will be tested on a Hawaiian route. You can say that the state of electric air mobility is doing very well. A second big purchase announcement is below.
Our friends at Eviation unveiled the first “fully operational” Alice, an electric airplane commuter, at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France. Furthermore, Eviation secured a high note thanks to Cape Air becoming its first official customer.
If you recall, I spoke with Omer Bar-Yohay, CEO of the electric airplane startup Eviation, not long ago. He explained how electric airplanes, and specifically the Alice’s configuration, make electric propulsion an attractive option for local airplanes.
Although the scale of the purchase hasn’t been released, a few sources are estimating the number to be as high as double-digit purchase options.
According to Omer, the Alice shows Eviation’s expertise and innovations in thermal management, as well as autonomous landing. Its distributed electric propulsion system and thorough understanding of areal battery technology means the Alice will perform very well with its composite body frames and 3 electric motors.
The Alice will carry up to 9 passengers at 240 knots (276 mph, 444 km/h) with a range of up to 650 miles (1,046 km, ~ 565 nm).
Omer feels the Alice is ready to begin its flight testing period this year, with an aim for certification by 2021. Eviation hopes to enter service by 2022.
The Clear Future of Electric Urban Air Mobility
It’s a wonder to see something that was 10 years ago a wild dream becoming clearer by the month. This Israeli startup has enough funds to step into the second phase of its development, clearly convincing certain investors that it could have a bright future.
In order to certify the “Alice” as an electric business and commuter aircraft, the 9-passenger electric plane will have to endure a few flight tests and data crunching before we see it flying nearby. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing those tests and filming this momentous passage in time.
All images courtesy Eviation