The German postal services giant, DHL Express, has ordered twelve Alice electric aircraft from Eviation. The electric delivery aircraft are scheduled for delivery to DHL Express in 2024. Eviation has scheduled the aircraft’s maiden flight for later this year.
According to DHL Express, the Deutsche Post DHL Group subsidiary is the first company in the world to place an order for the zero-emission aircraft Alice. With the electric aircraft, DHL Express says it plans to “build the first electric and thus emission-free air freight network”.
With these electric aircraft, DHL Express wants to build completely emission-free feeder networks. “The Alice can be charged while loading and unloading operations occur, ensuring quick turnaround times that maintain DHL Express’ tight schedules,” the company says. To build the charging facilities, DHL Express expects to make “lower investments in station infrastructure”.
Eviation Aircraft, an Israeli and US-American company, only just revealed details of the electric aircraft in July this year. The Alice is to be powered by two magni650 electric drive units, each with 640 kW of power from magniX. The range is to be around 800 kilometres, the top speed around 400 km/h. The passenger version of the Alice is to be built by the manufacturer magniX. In the passenger version, Alice will be able to transport nine passengers and two crew members. The payload is 2,600 pounds or 1,200 kilograms. DHL Express states that the loading time per flight hour should be around 30 minutes.
“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. On our way to clean logistics operations, the electrification of every transport mode plays a crucial role and will significantly contribute to our overall sustainability goal of zero emissions.”
Omer Bar-Yohay, CEO of Eviation, sees the order from DHL Express as proof “that the era of electric aviation has already begun”. “From day one, we set an audacious goal to transform the aviation industry and create a new era with electric aircraft,” the CEO said. “This announcement is a significant milestone on our quest to transform the future of flight across the globe.”
The order marks a new era of zero-emission delivery services, namely now moving into aerial territory. DHL has been at the forefront of electrification globally. Deutsche Post / DHL is one of the founding members of EV100, aimed at accelerating the decarbonisation of transport by means of corporations making pledges to electrify their fleets. Back in 2016, DHL was so far ahead that it had to manufacture its own electric delivery vans to fulfil its own commitments since at the time, vehicle makers did not have a single zero-emission van on the market. Now the postal giant is stretching its wings and taking off into zero-emission aviation and this time does not have to manufacture its own vehicles.
With additional reporting by Carrie Hampel
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