Electric Airplane

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Electric Airplane
Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, July 4, 2019 2:31 PM

 

'World’s first’ fully-electric plane unveiled by Israeli company

'The 'Alice' will redefine how people travel and usher in a new era of flying,' says Eviation CEO Omar Bar-Yohay.

Sara Rubenstein, 21/06/19 11:16

 

Israeli Eviation Alice electric aircraft is seen on static display, before the o
Israeli Eviation Alice electric aircraft is seen on static display, before the o
REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Eviation Aircraft Ltd., an Israeli aviation company, displayed the Eviation Alice, an entirely electric commuter plane, at the Paris Air Show this week.

The Alice, which can seat nine passengers and two pilots, can fly at 273 miles per hour for up to 621 miles on one battery charge, at a cost of $200 per hour of flight. The battery comprises 65% of the plane’s weight. The plane's unusual and modern look, which Eviation CEO Omar Bar-Yohay described as "whale-shaped," is due to its aerodynamic efficiency.

 

 

 

Eviation already has orders for a "double-digit" number of airplanes from US regional carrier Cape Air, with which Eviation signed its first deal. Each plane will carry a $4 million price tag.

“Operating at a fraction of the costs of conventional jetliners, our Alice will redefine how people travel regionally and usher in a new era of flying that is quieter, cleaner, and cost-effective,” Bar-Yohay said.

The use of electric planes, especially if they "take off" and become widespread is a step in the right direction to a cleaner environment, as the high carbon emissions from standard planes have been a source of concern for environmentalists. Electric planes can also potentially decrease the high costs of plane travel due to the huge amount of oil planes require.

Bar-Yohay, speaking at a press conference at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday, said that the Alice will undergo flight-tests this year and will then be tested for certification by the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The company is expecting Alice to be ready for commercial use by 2022.

Tags: Airplanes
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Posted by Overmod on Thursday, July 4, 2019 3:04 PM

Keep in mind the sweet spot established for autonomous regional aircraft -- also electric and 10-passenger --  proposed a few years ago, and the very similar hybrid-electric Zunum aircraft.  I still firmly believe that a full-BEV aircraft is hokum, and requires a chemical hybrid power source (with chemical-fuel energy density, whether used in an engine of some kind or a fuel cell) to be at all practical in anything but extremely short-hop regional feeder service.  But that's the niche that I think an aircraft like this Alice is intended for.

Note that they were smart enough to put 'takeoff' power in the two wingtip nacelles, with a smaller 'sustainer' engine in the fuselage rear.  It will be interesting to see the detailed breakdown of that "$200/hr" as that seems far above even the capitalized charging cost alone.

There are interesting designs in the pipeline that will only get better as battery chemistry and fabrication evolve.

This technology, or something like it, should not be seen as a replacement for 'corridor HSR' but as an adjunct to it, providing high-speed distributed access from 'regional' areas to the optimized station locations (probably far outside populated areas!) in a way that no highly-capitalized regional heavy rail can effectively offer.

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Posted by JPS1 on Friday, July 5, 2019 9:01 AM
Presumably the airplane is intended for Part 135 Operations.  As such it must have enough fuel – battery charge – to fly to its destination plus its alternate plus 45 minutes. So, the practicable commercial range of the Alice will be considerably less than 273 miles. 
 
If the airplane has the characteristics of an EV, operation of the air conditioning, the instruments, the radios, etc. will pull additional juice from the batteries, thereby reducing the range further.  And if the pilot(s) needs to run deicers, they will suck the juice out of the batteries so fast it will make the pilot's head swim.
 
It appears that the practicable roundtrip range of the Alice would be approximately 180 miles, which would greatly restrict its commercial range.  Also, recharging capabilities would have to be set up at the airports served by the Alice just in case it got seriously held up on one of its legs. 
 
As a commercial pilot with multiple engine and instrument ratings, as well as Certified Flight Instructor and Certified Flight Instructor – Instruments, I can attest to how weather can disrupt the best flight plans.
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Posted by Overmod on Friday, July 5, 2019 9:30 AM

Adding to JPS1's very correct comments:  I wonder if this Israeli company is associated with the 'other' Israeli company that was developing a 10-passenger autonomous aircraft for this kind of distributed regional service.  If so, it is amusing that they've gone not only to obligate piloted aircraft but to one that requires two pilots for its pax capacity.

It was, and remains, true that autonomous flight is a much simpler exercise than autonomous driving, and that OTS flight-director systems are easily capable of the kind of autonomous performance 'required'.  Whether a company like this is capable of implementing the true non-common-mode redundancy necessary to make that trick work, even with one pilot for 'backup' in emergencies, is certainly not assured.

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Posted by rdamon on Friday, July 5, 2019 6:17 PM

Interesting Cape Air has also ordered 100 Tecnam P2012 to replace the 80+ Cessna 402s in their fleet.

https://www.capeair.com/about_us/cape-air-fleet.html

Ground traffic at KBOS alone will drain the battery. Maybe they are planning some sort of 'smart tug' to keep things charged until takeoff.

 

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, July 5, 2019 8:13 PM

rdamon
Interesting Cape Air has also ordered 100 Tecnam P2012 to replace the 80+ Cessna 402s in their fleet.

https://www.capeair.com/about_us/cape-air-fleet.html

Ground traffic at KBOS alone will drain the battery. Maybe they are planning some sort of 'smart tug' to keep things charged until takeoff.

I don't see this.  These P2012s are piston-engine aircraft (2 x 375hp) that can use conventional unleaded automotive gasoline, and appear to be conventionally pilot-flown.  What is particularly revolutionary about a piloted piston-engined twin built to carry 11 passengers? 

You must be thinking of the H3PS ("High Power High Scalability Aircraft Hybrid Powertrain") development effort, which is supposed to use this basic airframe but with some kind of Rotax power backing up 'all-electric' drive to the propellers -- I'll grant you it will be interesting to see.

I do think Cape Air would be an early, and possibly large, customer for the parallel-hybrid P2012, which would likely have tremendous part and systems commonalty with the aircraft they are now getting.  That makes this Eviation order for 40 Alices ... aircraft that definitely fit your comment about draining battery capacity on the ground ... a bit strange to understand.  Perhaps we can gauge how far Tecnam is from being production-ready on the hybrid P2012 by this...

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Posted by rdamon on Saturday, July 6, 2019 12:41 PM

Flying had a article about the Tecams a while back.  Cape Air was in on the design of the P2012.

For a airline that has been sucessful flying C402s  perhaps moving to a high wing is revolutionary. :)

Sure they have a few A&Ps that know their way around a flat piston engine.

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Posted by Erik_Mag on Sunday, July 7, 2019 11:02 PM

Sweet spot for current battery electric airliners is for short overwater jaunts such as "the Cape" and Puget Sound. I don't think taxiing will be a big battery killer, doesn't take that much power to spin a prop fast enough to get the plane to move.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, July 8, 2019 7:56 AM

Erik_Mag
I don't think taxiing will be a big battery killer, doesn't take that much power to spin a prop fast enough to get the plane to move.

I think he is referring (in part humorously) to very long delays on the ground after leaving or before arriving at the terminal and its charging arrangements.  HVAC in the summer and winter, even with  reasonably efficient electrics, may be a major culprit.  You can shut the electric propulsion off when not actually moving, but not the air circulation...

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Posted by rdamon on Monday, July 8, 2019 7:01 PM

Thanks Overmod - probably need a sarcasm disclaimer in my sig. 

When I did a testdrive of a Tesla (Kids college .. car....hmm)  they showed on the computer how the heater is a bigger impact than the A/C . Passengers do not like the cold and the plane is not too keen on ice either.

2005 Honda is still in the driveway BTW ;)

 

 

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 9:46 AM

rdamon

Flying had a article about the Tecams a while back.  Cape Air was in on the design of the P2012.

For a airline that has been sucessful flying C402s  perhaps moving to a high wing is revolutionary. :)

Sure they have a few A&Ps that know their way around a flat piston engine.

 

 

I saw that article. Very interesting. I recall flying in a high wing Short Brothers plane several times,  including the scariest thunderstorm flight I ever had from Charlottesville to Raleigh. 

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Posted by aegrotatio on Sunday, July 28, 2019 10:50 PM

Haha, no.

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, July 28, 2019 11:10 PM

charlie hebdo
 
rdamon

Flying had a article about the Tecams a while back.  Cape Air was in on the design of the P2012.

For a airline that has been sucessful flying C402s  perhaps moving to a high wing is revolutionary. :)

Sure they have a few A&Ps that know their way around a flat piston engine. 

I saw that article. Very interesting. I recall flying in a high wing Short Brothers plane several times,  including the scariest thunderstorm flight I ever had from Charlottesville to Raleigh. 

The commuter carrier for US Airways back in the 80's used to fly Shorts 330's.  Boxy little things, weren't pressurized and could not fly over the weather.

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