The company behind the first-ever flight of a fully electric passenger plane is now retooling the aircraft for its goal of serving commercial purposes.
Dubbed “Alice,” the plane built by Eviation Aircraft took off from Washington state’s Grant County International Airport last week and traveled at an altitude of 3,500 feet for eight minutes, according to a press release from the company.
Eviation said that Alice can last up to one to two hours per charge and can hit a top cruise speed of 287 mph. The company said it’s targeting a range of 250 nautical miles per battery charge.
“Last week’s first flight provided Eviation with invaluable data to further optimize the aircraft for commercial production,” a spokeswoman for Eviation told the Washington Times. ‘We will review the flight data to understand how the performance of the aircraft matched our models.”
She added that Eviation will use the “proof-of-concept aircraft as we move ahead with development and plan to enter into our flight test program in 2025 with prototypes of the production aircraft.”
Take-off 7:10 a.m.
Alice is flying pic.twitter.com/V7sIpPGfpB
— Dominic Gates (@dominicgates) September 27, 2022
There are some kinks to work out, primarily with the battery technology used to power the plane.
The lithium-ion batteries used to power the plane are heavy and there are concerns that they can heat up uncontrollably, causing the battery to catch fire and fail, according to the Verge.
Still, the plane is in the testing phase. Eviation told CNN that it will work on making a Federal Aviation Administration-certified model through 2025, with hopes of putting the plane into passenger service by 2027.
There are three versions of the electric plane in the works — a nine-passenger commuter plane, a six-passenger “executive” model and a cargo plane version.