Eviation Aircraft is stepping up preparations for the first flight with its all-electric Alice aircraft later this year. It reported today that it has taken delivery of the first electric propulsion unit (EPU) supplied by its sister company, MagniX.
According to Eviation, it remains on track to complete FAA type certification of the fixed-wing aircraft by the end of 2023. This is about 12 months later than initially targeted, with the delay largely caused by disruption from a fire that in January 2020 damaged an earlier prototype during ground testing in Prescott, Arizona. The source of the fire was traced to a fault in a ground-based battery system.
The company, which is now based at Arlington in Washington state, says that the Alice will be able to carry nine passengers just over 500 miles. It has not commented on reports that the design has been changed over the past year. Images published in FlightGlobal in January showed what seemed to be a reworked model with two forward-facing propellers on the horizontal stabilizer of a T-shaped tail. The original prototype had a pair of pusher propellers on the wingtips and one more on the rear end of the fuselage.
MagniX, which like Eviation is owned by Singapore-based Clermont Group, has been flying its EPU since December 2019 on other aircraft, including a Cessna Grand Caravan and the DeHavilland DH-2 Beaver. The company says it expects to complete certification of the electric motor and battery combination under FAA Part 33 rules in 2022.
“The MagniX delivery is one of the key milestones in getting emission-free, low-cost, all-electric aviation off the ground with the first flight of the Alice,” said Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay. “After many successful flights and tests of the MagniX EPUs, we’re confident the system will propel us to bring Alice to market and deliver a sustainable, scalable mobility solution that will revolutionize passenger and cargo flights.”
Eviation has sub-let several hangars at Arlington Airport and has spent at least $300,000 to renovate the facility to support its plans for the Alice development work.
MagniX is nearby, in Everett, Washington. Its CEO, Roei Ganzarski, was appointed chairman of Eviation in November 2019.
During interviews with FutureFlight’s sister publication AIN, Eviation said that the $4 million aircraft will offer direct operating costs of just $200 per flight hour. U.S. operator Cape Air placed the launch order for Alice in a June 2019 deal for an undisclosed number of aircraft. The company claims to have total orders for 150 aircraft with more than one customer but has not disclosed the names of any other prospective operators.