Not only is DHL a world leader in package and courier delivery, but it’s also very likely the most ecological one. Indeed it’s got a fleet of 16,000 electric bikes and several thousand of a special electric truck that was conceived exclusively for the DHLneeds. So the sheer fact that such a company has ordered 12 electric aircraft bodes well for the future of Eviation Alice and electric aircraft in general.
Electric aircraft a sure way to the democratization of private flights.
Every new development in the adoption of electric aircraft is exciting for us, since the cost per km/passenger of an electric aircraft is at least 3 times lower than that of the conventional aircraft, thus for private flights as well. Indeed, and electric motor needs almost no maintenance and electricity is much cheaper than fuel when used to propel a car or any other vehicle. For instance, and electric car can drive more than 100 km with 15 kW, which caused roughly €2, whereby an internal combustion car needs at least 6 L of fuel to cover the same distance.
The Express Division of Deutsche Post DHL Group was the first company in the world to order twelve Alice electric aircraft. With the order, DHL plans to set up the first electric and therefore emission-free air freight network.
Eviation expects to deliver the electric cargo aircraft to DHL Express from 2024 – although the Alice has not even taken off yet. However, the maiden flight should take place this year, emphasizes Eviation. The manufacturer had originally announced the same for 2019 and presented a copy of the Alice in the static display at the Aerosalon in Paris in the same year. The date for the first flight was later postponed to 2020. In early 2020, however, a prototype Alice caught fire and burned out during ground tests. Since then, the ambitious project has been very quiet.
New design for Alice
In the meantime, Eviation has fundamentally revised the design of the Alice. The motors, which were initially mounted on the wing tips, were moved to the stern, and the eye-catching tail wheel landing gear of the prototype from Paris became a conventional landing gear with a nose wheel. According to the manufacturer, Alice can be flown by a single pilot and transport over 1,200 kilograms of cargo. The charging time per flight hour should be around 30 minutes, Eviation states that the maximum range is 815 kilometers. Alice can be used in any environment in which airplanes with piston and turbine engines currently operate, it is said.
DHL plans “emission-free future”
That apparently convinced the decision-makers at DHL. “We firmly believe in the zero-emission future of logistics,” said John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express. “That is why we make sure with all investments that they improve our CO2 footprint. On our way to environmentally friendly logistics, the electrification of all modes of transport plays a decisive role.” However, it remains to be seen whether the date of the flotation can be met. The delivery of the first machines in 2024 sounds pretty optimistic from today’s point of view.