DHL Express has placed an order for 12 electric Eviation Alice aircraft, with delivery anticipated in 2024. The order represents the freight operator's first foray into electric aircraft.
Cover image: Eviation
The Alice features a rarely seen, rear twin engine design. The engines themselves are two magniX 650's, each providing a maximum of 640 kilowatts of power. According to Eviation, the planned passenger version of the aircraft is designed to carry 9 passengers, whilst the cargo configuration should be capable of carrying a max payload of 1.2 tonnes. The aircraft's stated range is 440 nautical miles, and it's relatively short take off distance will enable flexible operations and potential network development for DHL. It is also stated that the aircraft will require a 30-minute charge per 1 hour of flight time, keeping turnaround times to a minimum.
Whilst introduction of the Alice would likely have a negligible CO2 impact initially (due to it being intended for the creation of new, very short routes) it is likely that the success of the project, combined with further technological advancement would lay the groundwork for further expansion into electric power for the DHL Group.
According to data from InsightIQ's Carbon Emissions Calculator, flights operated by all DHL brands globally have accounted for 320,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions between January and July 2021. The highest contributing aircraft type to this was the Boeing 767-200BDSF, which accounted for around 40% of total group emissions in that same period. It is important to consider that, as the type operating the most short-sector flights, the 767-200 BDSF carries 50 tonnes of payload compared to just under 1.3 tonnes for the Alice. It is clear that this project only has the potential for network expansion, rather than replacing more polluting aircraft in the short term.
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