Israeli company Eviation Aircraft made history last week, when successfully completed the first flight of its all-electric Alice aircraft. Alice lifted on September 27, at 7:10 a.m. from Grant County International Airport (MWH), flying for 8 minutes at an altitude of 3,500 feet. The flight made possible after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has certified the demonstration. Eviation says that the flight provided important data that will assist the company in the certification process and in optimizing the aircraft.
The aircraft is driven by three electric motors and features zero carbon emission. It is targeted for the regional and short flight market and will typically operate flights ranging from 150 miles to 250 miles, mainly for commuters. It can carry up to nine passengers for 620 miles and 260 knots operating speed. Until now, the company received letters of intents from companies intending to place orders for 140 cargo and commuter aircrafts. In April 2022, Massachusetts’ Cape Air announced its intention to place order for seventy-five units, and few weeks ago, Eviation reported another letter of intent received from Miami’s GlobalX, showing interest in purchasing fifty electric Alice aircrafts.
Industry game changer
In August 2021 Eviation reported its first cargo customer, when DHL Express placed an order for 12 Alice eCargo aircrafts, an electric plane capable of carrying 2600 pounds for a five hundred miles range. Cape Air Founder and Board Chairman Dan Wolf said: “The first flight of Alice is a landmark that will change the aviation industry. We currently fly more than four hundred regional flights per day, connecting more than thirty cities across the United States and Caribbean. Alice can easily cover 80 percent of our flight operations, bringing sustainable, emission-free travel to the communities we serve.”
Geoff Kehr, Senior Vice President, Global Air Fleet Management, DHL Express, said: “Our order of 12 Alice e-cargo planes was intended to realize our target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Alice is the true game-changer by enabling long distance air transport for the first time with zero emissions”.
One of the company’s first major investor was the venture capital fund Ilan Holdings, founded by Michael Ilan, founder of Isralift Elevators. Liora Ettinger, Ilan Holdings’ CEO said: “We are proud to support and accompany Eviation, the management and the technological team as the first company’s investor. We believe that Eviation and the all-electric aircraft are leading for a profound change of the industry”.
The founder retired this year
Eviation was founded in 2015 by CEO Omer Bar-Yohay and Chairman and major investor Aviv Tzidon, formerly founder of BVR System that was purchased by Elbit in 2009 for $34 million. As mentioned, the
Ilan Holdings fund also joined them as a major investor. The company raised $200 million, but in September 2019 it was purchased and became a subsidiary of Clermont Aerospace group.
The acquisition was done when Clermont was investing a convertible loan of $76 million for its 70% stake at the beginning of 2019. Currently, the company operates from its headquarters at Arlington Municipal Airport, north of Seattle and from the offices at Kadima, Israel. Earlier this year, CEO and co founder Omer Bar-Yohay had retired, and Gregory Davis, formerly aerospace manager at Viking Air Ltd. in Canada and at Marshall Aerospace in Britain, assumed the role of interim CEO.