DHL is the newest large company to announce the acquisition of an electric aircraft. The cargo company closed an agreement to receive 12 units of the Alice eCargo plane, which will be produced by the startup Eviation.
Originally developed as a twin-engine electric commuter, the Alice will be able to fly at 220 kts over a distance of up to 440 nm. The passenger version has nine seats and a payload of 2,500 lbs.
The eCargo variant, acquired by DHL, will be able to carry up to 2,600 lbs (1,200 kg) manned by one pilot. Among the aircraft’s differentials are electric engines with fewer moving parts and lower maintenance costs, and software that constantly monitors flight conditions to seek optimal operation.
DHL intends to use Alice on feeder routes in the US. Service debut is considered for California.
“We firmly believe in a future with zero-emission logistics,” says John Pearson, CEO of DHL Express. “Therefore, our investments always follow the objective of improving our carbon footprint.”
“From day one, we set an audacious goal to transform the aviation industry and create a new era with electric aircraft,” said Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay. “Partnering with companies like DHL who are the leaders in sustainable e-cargo transportation is a testament that the electric was is upon us.
DHL Express is part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group, which aims to achieve zero emissions in its activities by 2050.
Eviation was founded in 2015 in Israel and has received several rounds of investment since then. The company moved to Seattle, USA, and participated in the 2019 Paris Air Show with an Alice prototype. The aircraft suffered a fire last year, and in July Eviation presented a design review, with a T-tail and pylon-mounted propellers.