The alice e-cargo electric aircraft preps for takeoff

What flies, runs on batteries, and could be delivering your online shopping orders in the near future? The Alice eCargo plane from Eviation. This fully electric aircraft is set to make logistics and the aviation sector a whole lot greener.

Electric aviation has arrived

By 2024, 12 of the Alice aircraft will form an unparalleled electric network of cargo planes flying for DHL Express.

The concept of human flight was once an impossible dream, confined to the imaginations of inventors like the Wright brothers until their groundbreaking ideas literally took flight. Over a century later, air travel is more accessible than ever – and it’s an essential part of global economy. 

But aviation is also a large source of greenhouse gas emissions. A 2020 study by the consultancy company Roland Berger indicated that the aviation industry accounts for 3% of global carbon emissions. With demand set to increase for passenger and cargo flights, and as other industries reduce their carbon footprint, aviation could account for up to 24% of global emissions by 2050.

Aviation industry stakeholders are hard at work in reversing that trend but face a challenge that is unique to flying: the power requirements of flight are immense compared to other modes of transport, such as cars. Simply put, it’s much easier to replace a diesel car with an electric car than it is to replace an aircraft with an electric alternative. 

Luckily, some of the best and brightest minds in the aviation industry are hard at work tackling the problem. That includes the experts at Eviation Aircraft, who are developing the world’s first fully electric cargo plane. Like DHL, Eviation believes the skies are a necessary resource, but that it’s our responsibility to minimize our impact. Electric aircraft have arrived and will soon take our decarbonization journey to new heights. 

Eviation evolution

Located in the US state of Washington – home to another aviation pioneer called Boeing – Eviation has electric aircraft solutions that focus on changing the way people travel regionally through affordable, sustainable aviation.

The key word here is ‘regional.’ Eviation is not trying to develop massive electric aircraft like the Boeing 777 or the Airbus A350. Those planes – designed to fly lots of people or lots of cargo a very long distance – are likely several decades away from becoming fully electric, if it’s even feasible at all. The problem is that outfitting an electric cargo plane of that size with enough batteries to replace the fuel needed to power the jets would make the plane weigh so much that it couldn’t even take off.

Meet Alice

The first-ever all-electric cargo aircraft, developed and made by Eviation Aircraft.

However, smaller planes – used for regional travel or cargo deliveries – can be built with electric propulsion and will soon be among the many planes crisscrossing the skies. In fact, Eviation’s Alice eCargo plane will be ready for takeoff by the end of 2021. And by 2024, 12 of these state-of-the-art electric aircraft will form an unparalleled electric network of cargo planes flying for DHL Express.

Greener middle miles

The fully electric Alice eCargo plane represents a pioneering step toward DHL’s sustainable logistics future. With sustainable solutions already in place for last-mile delivery, electric cargo planes will reduce our carbon emissions on feeder routes in environments currently serviced by piston and turbine aircraft.

Alice eCargo planes


Single pilot

<30 min

Charge time

815 km

Max range

1,250 kg

Cargo capacity

Alice eCargo planes will require less investment in station infrastructure, and the quick charging times – less than 30 minutes per flight hour – mean they can be charged as cargo is loaded and unloaded. That level of efficiency helps DHL Express maintain its quick turnaround times and tight schedules.

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Sustainable roads, seas, and skies

DHL utilizes many different methods of transportation in is global logistics network. From couriers who take to local routes by foot or by bike, to pilots who fly cargo planes across oceans, we’re committed to making every step in the process as sustainable as possible. This means utilizing a blend of technologies and sustainable solutions that, taken collectively, contribute to our commitment to clean operations for climate protection.

In addition to adding Alice electric cargo planes to the mix of our sustainable logistics operations, we’re also leveraging sustainable aviation fuels for long-haul flights, sustainable marine fuels for ocean cargo, and zero-emission vehicles such as electric bikes for local delivery.

More than a century after the Wright brothers’ pioneering flight, people don’t give a second thought to boarding a plane and stepping off a few hours later in a different city or country. Luckily, it won’t take that long to make fully-sustainable logistics just as much of a no-brainer – especially with companies like Eviation powering breakthroughs in electric aircraft and changing how the next thing you order online arrives at your door.

Published: August 2021

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