This electric plane requires $200m for final push
The plane is one of several electric models at the design stage, but its nine-passenger capacity and 650-mile range from a single charge could give it an edge in the commuter market currently served by a variety of light aircraft, the report said.
An Israeli company plans to fly the aviation industry’s first fully commercial battery-powered model that needs a financial push of about $200 million to bring it to market, said a report.
The Israeli company, Eviation Aircraft, plans to fly a prototype of the “Alice” design at the Paris Air Show in June and to begin building the first production version in the next 2 1/2 years, Chief Executive Officer Omer Bar-Yohay said in an interview to Bloomberg. It should sell for about $3 million, said Bloomberg report.
The plane is one of several electric models at the design stage, but its nine-passenger capacity and 650-mile range from a single charge could give it an edge in the commuter market currently served by a variety of light aircraft, the report said, adding that many other proposed craft are smaller, reflecting the limiting weight of batteries and fuel cells, while full-size airliners may take years to develop.
Running costs for the Alice will be about $200 per flight hour versus $1 000 for a turboprop, presenting a “compelling business case,” Bar-Yohay told Bloomberg, adding that it already has “a few hard commitments” from would-be operators.
He reportedly said that existing funds should take the project to the prototype stage “and a bit further,” but won’t by themselves bankroll manufacturing.
According to the report, the Alice will be slower than some conventional craft, with a cruising speed of 240 knots (276 miles per hour), half the pace of modern business jets but not far short of some turboprop models.
Further the report said that about 65% of the Alice’s weight would come from lithium ion batteries sourced from South Korea’s Kokam, which will drive electrical propulsion units most likely sourced from Siemens.
Eviation Aircraft, based in Kadima, near Tel Aviv, was reportedly founded in 2015 by a team of aviation and technology specialists with backgrounds ranging from battery-systems start-up Phinergy to the Israel Defense Forces, with which Bar-Yohay served as a major until 2008.
The company, which reported accumulated losses of $68 million through 2017, has so far been funded by small investors and Israeli government grants, Bloomberg added.