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Prototype electric airplane from Israeli-US startup takes first flight

Eviation’s commuter aircraft, built for 9 passengers, soars to 3,500 feet in successful test in US

Alice, an all-electric airplane designed and built by Eviation, takes off in Moses Lake, Washington, for its first flight, September 27, 2022. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP)
Alice, an all-electric airplane designed and built by Eviation, takes off in Moses Lake, Washington, for its first flight, September 27, 2022. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP)

A prototype, all-electric airplane took its first flight Tuesday morning in central Washington state.

The commuter plane, called the Alice, was created by the Israeli-American startup Eviation.

The Seattle Times reported that if the Federal Aviation Administration eventually certifies the small airplane to carry passengers, it could become the first all-electric commercial airplane.

The plane was built to carry nine passengers and two pilots and took off from Moses Lake, Washington, at 7:10 a.m. Tuesday.

The plane reached an altitude of 3,500 feet (1,066 meters) and landed eight minutes later.

The company’s goal is to show such electric planes are viable as commuter aircraft for regional travel, flying at an altitude of about 15,000 feet (4,572 meters).

The plane, designed by engineers in Israel and Washington state, is powered by 21,500 small Tesla-style battery cells that weigh over 4 tons.

Eviation founder Omer Bar-Yohav hailed the plane as a “new age of aviation” in an interview with The Times of Israel last year.

“We have a product that is sustainable, it is economically sustainable, as it is cheap to operate and maintain, and it is socially sustainable — this is a mode of transportation people want to use,” Bar-Yohay said.

Electric engines and battery technologies are driving a “third age of aviation” where “we have a maturity of elements and advanced materials, the social will, and the financial capabilities,” said Bar-Yohay.

The company has also developed aircraft for cargo operations.

Eviation made a splash by debuting its technology at the Paris Air Show in 2019.

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