Watch the First-ever All-electric Passenger Plane Take Its Inaugural Flight

Meet Alice the aircraft.

An all-electric passenger plane took flight for the first time this week, making history in the effort to make zero-emissions planes a commercial reality.

The Alice aircraft, which is manufactured by Eviation Aircraft, took off on Sept. 27 from Grant County International Airport in Washington and flew for 8 minutes, according to the company. The flight reached an altitude of 3,500 feet.

The planes, which can be used for cargo or people, can hold up to nine passengers and two crew members at a time and operate at up to 260 knots. When used as a passenger plane, travelers will have a seat pitch of 32 inches.

“Today we embark on the next era of aviation – we have successfully electrified the skies with the unforgettable first flight of Alice,” Eviation President and CEO Gregory Davis said in a statement. “People now know what affordable, clean and sustainable aviation looks and sounds like for the first time in a fixed-wing, all-electric aircraft. This ground-breaking milestone will lead innovation in sustainable air travel, and shape both passenger and cargo travel in the future.”

The plane will typically operate flights ranging from 150 miles to 250 miles. The aircraft is powered by a pair of magni650 electric propulsion units, which produce no carbon emissions. The company said it’s also less noisy and “costs a fraction to operate” compared to other light jets or high-end turboprops.

The plane can fly for one hour and needs about 30 minutes to charge, CNN reported.

“This is history,” Davis told the network. ”We have not seen the propulsion technology change on the aircraft since we went from the piston engine to the turbine engine. It was the 1950s that was the last time you saw an entirely new technology like this come together.”

Eviation said regional U.S.-based airlines Cape Air and Global Crossing Airlines have each placed orders for the planes, while DHL Express became the company’s first cargo customer. 

This is not the first all-electric commercial aircraft to fly. That honor belongs to a six-seater seaplane, which took off from Vancouver in 2019.

Last year, Rolls-Royce started testing what it called the world's fastest all-electric aircraft, which reached a maximum speed of more than 387 mph. And Hawaiian Airlines has invested in electric seagliders, which could be used for sustainable island-to-island transportation.

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