DHL Express, a German-based worldwide courier, has placed the first order for 12 all-electric Alice eCargo planes that will be delivered over 2024 from Eviation, a Seattle-based electric aircraft manufacturer. It will be the world’s first all-electric air courier fleet in history.
On August 3, 2021, DHL and Eviation announced a significant milestone in the history of electric aircraft, particularly electric cargo aircraft. DHL will start testing 12 electric freight planes from Eviation’s single current model, nicknamed “Alice,” later this year. In 2024, deliveries will commence.
According to the website, Alice will travel at 220 knots (407 kilometers per hour) and have a 440-nm range, powered by an 820kWh lithium-ion battery pack weighing 3,720 kilograms (8,200lb). Alice would cruise at 240kt, have a 540 nm range, and a 920kWh battery system weighing 3,600kg, according to Eviation. The plane has undergone some changes from its previous design of 2019.
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Alice will be piloted by a single person and will be capable of transporting up to 1,200 kg of freight. According to the company’s plans, charging will take only 30 minutes per flying hour, and it will have a maximum range of 815 kilometers. Electric motors are more reliable and require less maintenance since they have fewer moving parts.
The Alice eCargo aircraft are ideal for feeder routes because they require less station infrastructure expenditure. The Alice may be charged while loading and unloading procedures are taking place, ensuring speedy turnaround times and keeping DHL Express on track.
Although this aircraft will be used to transport e-commerce products, the design enables for both cargo and passengers to be transported. “With online shopping on the rise, Alice will help DHL to develop a clean, quiet, and low-cost network,” said Roei Ganzarski, CEO of Eviation.
DHL hopes to establish an unrivaled electric Express network as part of this collaboration and pave the way for a more sustainable flying future. The Alice aircraft will function in all environments. Still, they will offer better reliability and lower maintenance costs because of their superior electric motors.
DHL Express CEO John Pearson said, “We strongly believe in a future involving zero-emission logistics.” “As a result, our investments are constantly guided by the goal of reducing our carbon impact. Electrification of all modes of transportation is critical in our quest for clean logistical operations, and it will greatly contribute to our overall sustainability target of zero emissions. DHL Express has a long history in the aviation business since founded in 1969. With Eviation, we’ve discovered the ideal partner since they share our mission, and together, we’ll continue the legacy of sustainable aviation.”
Travis Cobb, DHL Express’s head of global network operations and aviation, also stated that “With Alice’s range and capacity, this is a great long-term solution for our worldwide network, and it will be focused for services on the east and west coasts of the United States,”
“We have our goal to reduce our carbon footprint, and these fleets and technological improvements will assist us in doing so. This is a critical milestone in our decarbonization journey for our customers and us, as well as a stride forward for the entire aviation industry.”
DHL’s sustainability objectives include a long-term aim of lowering all logistics-related emissions to zero by 2050. The order to deliver 12 fully electric Alice eCargo planes is the first step in that direction. DHL also unveiled a new Sustainability plan earlier this year, promising to invest €7 billion by 2030 to cut CO2 emissions, focusing on last-mile delivery electrification and sustainable aviation fuels.