Cars are the most commonly blamed mode of transportation in terms of creating carbon dioxide emissions. It certainly deserves it as they can be up to 90 percent of the problem in urban areas, but not many are looking up at another culprit -- airplanes. That could change in the coming years after a prototype of an electric plane was revealed at the 52nd International Paris Air Show.
Eviation Aircraft is hoping to pave the way for future flights. Their first objective won’t be sending a large body of passengers like a common airliner would. Electrek that these initial planes, called the Alice Commuter, would fly anywhere from “six to nine passengers plus two crew on long distances.” They’ll be able to do that once certified, and that could happen as early as next year.
Omer Bar-Yohay, CEO of Eviation Aircraft, highlighted the benefits of the electric aircraft : “At a time when we are more connected than ever, our mobility options must adapt to reflect this new, efficient future...Whether it is a zero emissions, low-cost trip from Silicon Valley to San Diego, or Seoul to Beijing, our all-electric aircraft represents a chance for people to move with the speed and impact our global economy now demands."
Electric air travel has been tested out in limited doses before, but Eviation’s prototype is the strongest example of how close it’s becoming a reality. Battery technology has been holding up the process, but a new aluminum air battery created by Phinergy will be able to get the job done. Their website claims the difference is in their “metal-air energy systems freely breathe oxygen from ambient air, making the systems significantly lighter.” That new battery could provide a range of up to 600 miles on a single charge.
Since the first planes will be carrying less than double-digit passengers, Eviation could be working with companies like Uber to create smaller-scale transportation. The ride-hailing service has been looking at electric flying cars in the past and was hoping to make it a reality by 2020. Their process is to create vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) flying vehicles that could travel anywhere from 20 to 60 miles. Slightly further into the future, Eviation is hoping to have their longer commercial flights going by 2021.