All-Electric Commuter Aircraft

An artist’s impression of the Eviation Alice, a new nine-seater commuter aircraft that is using Stratasys 3D printing technologies in its development.

The Israeli company Eviation Aircraft is developing an all-electric commuter aircraft called the Alice Commuter to US Federal Aviation Administration Part 135 regulations for commuter and ‘on-demand’ operations, seating up to nine passengers (plus two crew). The Alice will have a distinctive layout, with one main pusher propeller at the tail and two pusher propellers at the wingtips.

The aircraft’s length will be 12m (39ft), with a 13.5m (44ft) wingspan and a 5,900kg (13,007lb) maximum take-off weight. Power will be provided by a lithium ion battery pack. Cruise speed will be 240kts (444km/h), cruise altitude 10,000ft (3,048m) and range 520nm (965km), making it suitable for relatively short-range flights connecting key regional city pairs such as Silicon Valley-San Diego or Beijing-Seoul. The company wants to begin flight-testing of the Alice in late 2018 and make the aircraft commercially available in 2021.

The Alice will be all-composite. Key to its development are 3D printing technologies from Stratasys, which have been used in aerodynamic and engine development to test designs before investment in certifiable parts. Eviation says this approach has resulted in more innovative designs, a faster development process and significantly reduced engineering costs. It is now using 3D printing for prototyping test parts and tooling.