It was in the news that an all-electric passenger plane called “Alice” made by Eviation completed its first test flight:
Before you get too excited (or throw tomatoes at it, depending on which side you are on), Alice is designed to fly a mere 150-250 miles – As a reference, 200 miles is the distance from Boston to New York, or from London to Manchester. Hence the simple but fundamental question: Is there a market for this type of short-haul planes?
The answer is yes.
I did a quick check on the distribution of flight length, and got this histogram:
Source: I used data that are in this paper titled “Short-Haul Revitalization Study Final Report” （Original data from OAG; See page 3).
As is seen from above, there are about 28% of all flights that are less than 300 miles. That is a significant segment of market that can be served in a more environmentally-friendly fashion.
By the way, you may be wondering: Can we serve the longer haul market? The short answer is: Not now. Why not? Well, here is a pretty good video explaining that:
The answer lies in the fact that the current battery technology is still too heavy (or not energy-tense enough). But if history is of any guidance, we have good reason to hope that we will have a better battery technology that is tense enough to be used in long-haul flight. Let’s just hope that it will happen soon.