Israeli start-up Eviation Aircraft has selected Siemens as the first of at least two suppliers of motors for its Alice all-electric business and commuter aircraft, which is scheduled to make its debut sortie in early June. A second provider could be announced later this year.
Eviation co-founder and chief executive Omer Bar-Yohay says the decision to use more than one provider "will not only ease potential supply chain issues later down the line" but also give customers a much "broader choice of price points and maintenance schedules for their aircraft".
Siemens 260kW electric motors on the Alice will be powered by a 900kWh lithium-ion battery pack, driving the all-composite aircraft's three five-bladed Hartzell pusher propellers – located at the tail and on each wing tip.
Alice will have a range of 540nm (1,000km) and a cruise speed of 240kt (440km/h).
The aircraft will be priced between $3.5 million and $4 million, "depending on the configuration", is projected to have a maximum payload of 1,250kg (2,750lb) and a maximum take-off weight of 5,900kg. Honeywell will supply the Beechcraft King Air-sized Alice with a bespoke fly-by-wire system and flightdeck.
Assembly of the first Alice prototype is now under way in Vannes, northwest France – home to the model's composite fuselage supplier, Multiplast – and ground testing is planned for April.
"Systems integration will take time, but we hope to fly the aircraft ahead of the Paris air show in June, where it will make its debut,” says Bar-Yohay. He admits, however, that the timing is dependent on securing a permit to fly before the end of May.
The aircraft will be shipped to Prescott, Arizona after the show for flight testing, he adds.
Three aircraft are planned for the flight-test campaign – two prototypes and a production-conforming example. Parts for the second Alice are now under construction, and the aircraft is scheduled to join the certification effort in the fourth quarter. The third aircraft will arrive in mid-2020, with US type certification expected in 2021 followed by service entry in 2022.
Bar-Yohay describes North America as the "main market" for the 11-seat Alice and its sole focus initially. "We will concentrate on building our customer base, ground support and charging infrastructure in this region before moving on to other parts of the world," he says.
Production is forecast at around 15 aircraft in 2022, increasing to 100 in 2025, says Bar-Yohay.