First Electric Plane: Will Zero-Emission Travel Take Off?
Buckle up: Alice, the first electric plane with passengers, has recently soared into the sky. Woop woop!
This is an undeniably historical moment for aviation, but what do electric flights actually mean for the planet and zero-emission travel?
Reaching new heights: the first all-electric passenger plane
Electric planes aren’t actually that new (but Alice is still a first).
Who made the first electric plane?
Technically, the first electric plane was made by HB Flugtechnik, an Austrian company, and it took off… all the way back in 1973!
Several brands have been working on electric flights ever since, but Eviation Aircraft—the Israeli company behind Alice—has definitely reached a new milestone.
While the first electric plane was a small glider with just a pilot on board, Alice is the first all-electric passenger plane. Big step up, don’t you think?
Alice’s maiden flight
The first electric plane with passengers took off at 7:10 am on 27th September 2022 from Grant County International Airport. It reached an altitude of 3,500 feet and flew for eight minutes (sadly, not long enough to listen to Taylor’s version of All Too Well), carrying nine passengers and two crew members.
This type of electric plane can last up to one or two hours per charge and reach a top cruise speed of 287 mph.
So, nowhere near as fast as commercial aircraft like the Boeing 777 (590 mph) and 747 (652 mph), but we’re sure this is just the beginning!
What does the flight of the first electric plane mean for sustainable travel?
At TravelSisters, what we’re really excited about is the impact electric flights will have on the travel industry (duh).
Electric flights will be a breath of fresh air for the environment
We get it: there’s a type of travel joy that only heading to the airport can bring. However, we can’t deny that the aviation industry is detrimental to the planet:
- Due to fuel burning, it’s responsible for 2.5% of all CO2 emissions and, because planes affect the concentration of other gases in the atmosphere, 3.5% of global warming
- If nothing changes, it’s expected to represent 22% of all carbon emissions by 2050
Planes produce 918 million metric tons of CO2 a year, but it’s hard to visualise such a high number. So, to put it into perspective, keep in mind that a single ton of carbon is the equivalent of driving around the earth. Pretty scary!
Fully electric planes, on the other hand, would:
- Lead to zero-emission flights
- Remove the need to rely on fossil fuels for planes
- Be much quieter (so, air travel could be introduced in areas where it’s currently banned due to noise legislation)
But how close are we to this scenario?
What we can realistically expect after the flight of the first fully electric plane
As much as we’d love to hop on one, we believe we need to be realistic.
At the moment, the first electric plane can’t fly for very long and only carried eleven people altogether. So, don’t expect to try your first fully electric plane flight when going on holiday next year!
Eviation Aircraft is planning on using its first flight’s data to optimise these aircraft for commercial production and entering its flight test program in 2025.
However, given the limitations currently presented by electric planes, our prediction for the near future is that:
- Electric aircraft will mainly be used for domestic flights or to reach neighbouring countries
- They’ll be more popular amongst commuters than travellers
Still, we can’t wait for commercial electric planes to become an actual option!
In the meantime, you can reduce your flights’ carbon footprint by:
- Limiting them, choosing trains whenever possible
- Offsetting your emissions through platforms like myclimate or atmosfair
When it’s ready, will you try the first electric plane for bigger commercial flights? And have you got other tips to fly more sustainably?
Let us know in the comments, and give us a follow to see more advice, information, and inspiration for female travellers.