A prototype all-electric passenger plane took off for the first time yesterday on a test flight, marking a major milestone in carbon-free aviation. The Verge reports: A nine-passenger commuter plane named Alice took off at 7:10 a.m. yesterday from Washington State’s Grant County International Airport. When it comes to all-electric aircraft in development, Alice is ahead of the pack. It could become “the first all-new, all-electric commercial plane” if the Federal Aviation Administration certifies it to carry passengers, according to The Seattle Times.
Alice’s manufacturer, Washington, D.C.-based Eviation, targets commuter and cargo flights between 150 and 250 miles. It’s like flying from New York to Boston or from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. However, yesterday’s test flight lasted just eight minutes and the plane climbed to an altitude of 3,500 feet. The purpose of the flight was to collect data to improve the design of the plane, which still has a long way to go before it can take off with passengers on board. Alice will eventually be available in three configurations: a nine-passenger commuter jet, a six-passenger luxury jet, and an electronic cargo version. The limited size is related to the battery capacity.