Cape Air to lead the charge on all-electric air travel

Eviation’s new aircraft is efficient and cost-effective.

18
Alice, Eviation's electric plane and one that Cape Air is looking to add to its fleet, debuted at Paris Le Bourget Air Show June 16. - Photo courtesy Jean-Marie Liot / eviation

An emission-free aircraft startup company is debuting its new commuter class all-electric plane with Cape Air, which offers flights to Hyannis and other locations from Martha’s Vineyard Airport.

Designed and constructed by Israel-based plane developer Eviation the Alice is the industry’s first commuter-class aircraft that relies solely on electric power.

At the Paris Air Show, the chief executive officer for Eviation, Omer Bar-Yohay, announced that Cape Air would be the first customer to implement the new efficient aircraft technology, with “double-digit” order numbers.

Eviation is setting up a first flight for the plane later in the year, and it will be assembled and certified by around 2021. Dan Wolf, Cape Air’s founder and CEO, said delivery of the Alice to carriers for commercial use could be as soon as 2022, although that is an ambitious goal and the planes might not be used by Cape Air until later.

The Alice is a composite aircraft designed to fly nine passengers up to 650 miles on a single charge, and according to Wolf, will revolutionize the world of regional transportation. “Eviation is at the forefront of electric planes,” Wolf said.

Although the plane is still in its developmental stages, two different versions of the Alice are planned. The initial model will be used for air-taxi operations, and will use energy stored in a lithium-ion battery. The following version will be an extended-range executive aircraft with a larger, more powerful aluminum-air battery.

Similar to doing a piston engine overhaul in a normal aircraft after a milestone number of air miles traveled, the planes require that the batteries be replaced after a certain number of cycles.

Wolf explained that Cape Air has historically been a company that strives to be as environmentally responsible as possible, and will continue to push for more efficient means of air travel. “We recognize the immediate need to address climate change, and are very interested in reducing our carbon footprint,” Wolf said.

Cape Air has its own sustainability program that promotes sustainable practices both at home and at work. The airline has distributed thousands of compact fluorescent light bulbs to its employees, and facilitates home solar feasibility studies for workers.

They also installed two solar arrays at the Barnstable airport, and are currently working on putting up another, according to Wolf.

But Wolf said the all-electric Alice is just the catalyst for a monumental paradigm shift, where regional airlines will begin to shift away from petroleum-based fuels. “The challenge is not only to implement electric technology. You have to build an infrastructure to accommodate those changes,” Wolf said.

Wolf explained how airports will install chargers so planes can juice up before a flight. Cape Air plans to charge the new aircraft using energy generated from the airport’s solar arrays.

In the future, Wolf said, he is excited for Cape Air to continue leading the charge in electric aircraft technology, and is proud to be early in this trend of aviation.

Assistant airport director Geoff Freeman said he is happy Cape Air can again be at the forefront of environmentally responsible aviation. He said there is “a lot of movement” in the aviation realm that goes largely unnoticed, because “airlines aren’t normally associated with environmental efficiency.”

“It is really cool to see some of this start to happen and take shape,” Freeman said. “The technology is out there, and it will continue to grow.”

Freeman said the aircraft industry is still in its infancy of biofuels and alternative power, but the future of non-petroleum air travel is bright.

“I think at some point we may see larger planes using this technology, but not likely in the near future,” Freeman said. “We at the airport will be there to support this in any way we can. We will have to adapt, but that is a good thing.”

18 COMMENTS

  1. This this is very cool. perhaps the best part of this is that republicans might realize that there are alternatives to fossil fuels, and that AOC will not take away air travel when she is president.

  2. May I ask why Cape Air stopped regular flights to New Bedford? They have time to research electric planes but service to the Island is getting much worse.

    • Public trust– i went to orbitz,com searched for flights from mv to new bedford- June 24 – without spending hours looking at return flights, it see at least 14 flights to new Bedford from Mv,
      What are you talking about ? What an ignorant comment to say that they have time to look at purchasing new planes and then falsly saying they have stopped service to new Bedford. As I have said before on this forum, I will call a lie a lie.. cape air has regular flights between MV and new Bedford — your comment is not true.

      • I fly regularly mvy to New Bedford. Only one flight this week on Tuesday only. It use to be twice a day.

        • I stand corrected. I saw lots of flights, but failed to notice the “minor” detail that most of them go through Boston. Thanks.

        • I rarely use the word stupid, and did not on this thread. I used the phrase
          “ignorant comment” , and i admit my ignorance as to direct flights to new Bedford. Sorry if I offended you.
          All that said, it’s a false narrative to compare time spent on the purchase of replacing aging aircraft, and a schedule.

  3. They must have plenty of money in the bank based upon the prices for their flights, some of the highest per seat mile in the industry. I went to their website to read to see if there was any info on this, and looked under careers and under faq found this: “First year C402 Captains start at $17.16 per duty hour. In 2017, first year Captains averaged a salary of $78,000 per year”.
    Doing the math…that’s $686.40 per week. So If you work 52 weeks a year that’s $35, 692.28 . The math does not add up since the Federal Aviation Administration limits the hours a pilot can work so there is no fatigue. Its interesting that the Democrats push for laws requiring $15 per hour minimum for no-brain jobs at McDonalds but make no reference to this sort of job requiring an Airline transport license (which is probably $75-100k to obtain) and 1500 hours of flight experience (takes years to obtain) for a lousy 17 per hour. Oh wait…wasn’t the owner and former president of this company a Democrat state senator?
    You can make more money cleaning houses or cutting grass at marthas vineyard.

    • notnew– I wonder what a “duty hour” consist of .
      feel free to tip the pilot the next time you fly with Cape Air.

      • One can assume a ‘duty hour’ means non-flying such as the time required to be there before and after the flight and between flights. I’d rather see employers pay a fair wage so we don’t have to subsidize their employees with ”affordable housing”. Restaurant employees work for tips not professionals.

          • If a Democrat runs his company like this, the LAST thing I’d want is a Democrat to run the country. Paying professionals the same or less than unskilled labor is socialism. It doesn’t work and never will. If a Republican owned this company the media would be all over him/her for the low wages paid. But we all know how the ‘selective outrage’ is reported in the news.

Comments are closed.

Previous articleSunday Artists Reception at the Old Sculpin Gallery
Next articleSponsored: Real Estate Confidential: What comes after luxury?