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Watch: The electric flight era is closer than you think, meet Alice

Updated : November 29, 2019 01:43 PM IST

This is Alice - an electric powered plane. It’s one of many being unveiled this year.

So is the aviation industry becoming more sustainable and when will the world’s jet-setters actually start flying electric?

This is the world’s first commercial all-electric passenger aircraft.

It’s a prototype, but the aircraft’s creator, Israeli company Eviation, says it’s expected to enter service in 2022.

The unique selling proposition of this plane, besides the many benefits of it being a very sustainable aircraft with zero emissions, is actually that it makes economic sense.

This plane will cost $200 of flight hour to operate, a fraction of what a similarly sized and similar performance aircraft would cost to operate and really this is the business case and this is the reason we started the company.

The fuel bill for the global airline industry last year was estimated to have totaled $180 billion.

In 2019, the fuel bill is forecast to rise to $206 billion, accounting for 25 percent of airlines’ operating expenses. The impact of fuel prices on airlines’ revenues is clear.

Since 2010, the rise and fall in the price of fuel has had a direct correlation with airlines increasing and decreasing profit margins.

Back in 2016, The Solar Impulse 2 was the first solar-powered aircraft to travel all the way around the globe without a drop of fuel.

But while that was a single pilot, endurance flight, The Alice, which can fly 650 miles on a single charge at 250 knots, was designed for the everyday traveler.

That means you could get all the way from Paris to Barcelona without stopping to charge up.

Is that this plane’s long term purpose, to be a regional commuting plane?

We see this plane as one of the first opportunities to create a competitive ticket price for flying the distances that you would normally drive.

US regional carrier Cape Air has already put in a double digit order for the Alice plane. And British low-cost airline EasyJet is working with American startup Wright Electric.

EasyJet says it will start using its electric aircraft, which fly distances of less than 300 miles, in its regular services by 2027.

The drive behind it, is it cost cutting, is it the environment, or is it both?

The drive behind it is clearly the environment.

 
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