MIAMI – Eviation Aircraft is ramping up plans for the maiden flight of its all-electric Alice aircraft, which is slated for later this year. The company has received the first electric propulsion unit (EPU) produced by MagniX, its sister corporation.

According to Eviation, the fixed-wing aircraft is on schedule to receive its type certification from the FAA by the end of 2023. However, this is around a year later than planned. The delay of the all-electric Alice aircraft was primarily due to a fire incident during ground tests in Prescott, Arizona, in January 2020. The fire was sparked by a malfunction within a ground-based battery device that had destroyed an earlier prototype.

According to the venture, Alice is able to carry nine passengers over 500 miles range. Recently, Eviation relocated its headquarters to Arlington, Washington state. However, the firm has not responded to unconfirmed stories that it has modified the design of the type in the last year.

FlightGlobal released images of the type in January, which showed a reconfigured model with two forward-facing propellers on the horizontal stabilizer with a T-shaped fin. The initial version had two pusher propellers on the wingtips and one on the fuselage’s back end.

Eviaiton’s Alice in Paris Airshow 2019. Photo: Eviation.

Who is ManiX?

MagniX, a subsidiary of the Singapore-based Clermont Group, has been flying its EPU on other aircraft, including a Cessna Grand Caravan and a DeHavilland DH-2 Beaver, since December 2019. Further, the company will receive a Type certificate of its electric motor and battery combination under FAA Part 33 rules in 2022.

“The MagniX delivery is one of the key milestones in getting emission-free, low-cost, all-electric aviation off the ground with the first flight of the Alice,” said Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay.

“After many successful flights and tests of the MagniX EPUs, we’re confident the system will propel us to bring Alice to market and deliver a sustainable, scalable mobility solution that will revolutionize passenger and cargo flights.”

Eviation’s Alice first Prototype. Photo: Eviation.

Eviation’s Effort for Alice

Eviation has rented a few hangars at Arlington Municipal Airport (AWO) and has spent approximately US$300,000 refurbishing the site to support Alice’s future growth. On its part, MagniX is nearby, in Everett, Washington. Roei Ganzarski was appointed Chairman of Eviation and CEO in November 2019.

As AIN reports, Eviation says that the US$4m aircraft will have direct operational costs of just US$200 per flight hour. With a June 2019 contract, US operator Cape Air (9K) set a launch order for Alice. However, the total order from 9K is still unclear.

Still, Eviation has received orders for around 150 aircraft from several customers, though it has not revealed the names of any other potential operators.

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Featured image: Eviaiton’s Alice. Photo: Eviation