Eviation, a leader in electric planes, has announced that Air New Zealand has signed a letter of intent to purchase the company’s Alise electric aircraft.
Eviation has seen a boom in orders over the past year, mainly after the company’s successful test flight of their electric aircraft, the Eviation Alise. The company’s orders now equate to over $2 billion in value, and the company has received yet another order, this one from Air New Zealand.
Air New Zealand’s letter of intent outlines that the airline will purchase 23 Eviation Alise electric planes as part of its “Mission NextGen Aircraft” program. The planes would service domestic flights in New Zealand, which the airline states are a huge segment of its demand.
“The Alice offers an effective way to decarbonize these journeys, revolutionizing air travel and supporting the goals of the Mission NextGen Aircraft program,” said Gregory Davis, President, and CEO of Eviation. “New Zealand has earned a proud reputation for its progressive attitude and wide-ranging policies towards the climate challenge. The Alice is a beautiful aircraft that will delight airline operators and passengers. Seeing it soar through the skies of New Zealand is a magical prospect, and I pay tribute to Air New Zealand’s commitment to innovation and sustainability.”
The press release from Eviation did not outline when these aircraft would be sold to the airline or when they could be put into service, but the deal nonetheless will help secure the airline’s spot in line as demand for electric planes continues to grow. “Eviation’s all-electric Alice aircraft is a natural fit for the program with its proven technology that is optimized for short-range flights,” says Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran.
The Eviation Alise is still far from a traditional gas plane’s capacity and range capabilities, but it makes perfect sense for short, sub-300-mile flights. The plane seats nine passengers plus the flight crew and cargo, has a max speed of roughly 300mph, and a range of 287 miles.
While these specs are more than impressive for an electric plane, they highlight current EV technology’s limitations, mostly concerning batteries. Current batteries aren’t energy dense enough and weigh too much for long-distance flight applications, so Eviation is starting on a smaller scale. However, other sustainable options are being explored as well.
Rolls Royce’s aircraft engine division recently tested the world’s first hydrogen-powered jet engine and plans to do flight tests in the near future.
There is still much work to be done to make the aviation industry a more sustainable venture. Still, Eviation’s electric offerings are an essential step in the right direction. And through orders from notable airlines like Air New Zealand, these planes may be coming to fruition sooner than we realize.
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