Even so, Chandler still appreciated Alice's prospects. He hopes such planes will expand service to small airports and accommodate freight and passenge
The silence on a cold November afternoon in eastern Washington state was broken by the sound of an F/A-18 fighter jet engine. Inside a nearby warehouse is the Eviation Alice, an aircraft with white paint that is expected to make a big step in the aircraft industry's journey to eliminating greenhouse gases.

It has two engines, is almost like a Cessna Citation, is all battery powered and weighs more than 16,000 pounds. According to Forbes, this is the heaviest electric plane ever flown.

Richard Chandler, the 63-year-old investor, currently controls Eviation and electric motor maker MagniX. The original idea was to install those engines in a Jeepney in Manila to reduce air pollution, but after weighing the costs, Mr. Chandler decided to apply them to airplanes.

Electric planes have many advantages, both helping to clean the air and save costs. For example, Eviation can save more than 40%, even up to 80%, in energy and maintenance costs by the characteristics of the electric motor.

Despite deep skepticism from the traditional aviation industry, investors are increasingly turning their attention to electric aircraft, especially those that take off and land vertically.

Billions of dollars have been invested in flying taxis, with Joby Aviation, a company in Northern California, raising $820 million in venture capital from the likes of Intel and Toyota before going public in December. a $1.1 billion SPAC deal by 2021.

Chandler's point is why not electrify conventional small planes. In addition to being cheaper and easier, changing fewer engines will also give the regulator the freedom to approve the project.

In 2019, Richard Chandler bought a 70% stake in Eviation, an Israeli start-up, to try to show everyone how well MagniX's engines can work in a fully-engineered aircraft. entirely on electric motors.

For Chandler, Eviation Alice, the plane that can carry up to 9 people, is the "Tesla Model S" of electric aircraft. It's expensive, around $7 to $8 million, more than twice as much as a basic turbine engine with similar capacity, but Chandler still believes it will catalyze the development of a new engine. fledgling industry. "It was a precursor to seismic change in aviation," said Richard Chandler.

Back to the 1980s - when Chandler built a fortune of $ 2.6 billion thanks to strategic investments. In total, this man spent about $180 million on Eviation and tens of millions of dollars on MagniX.

Both companies were then relocated to the Seattle area to take advantage of the aerospace ecosystem built by Boeing in the Pacific Northwest.

Eviation has no significant revenue yet. MagniX previously won a $74 million NASA contract in 2021 to develop electric propulsion for large aircraft with a clear short-term development roadmap.

According to Forbes, Vancouver-based Harbor Air has been testing the MagniX-powered Beaver seaplane since 2019. United Therapeutics is also targeting hour-long flights with Robinson R44 helicopters running. by MagniX.

It's not clear how much they will cost, but according to Chandler, MagniX must cost more to make up for the downside in durability. It is known that revenue from maintenance activities is considered the lifeblood of engine manufacturers.

According to Kiruba Haran, a professor of engineering at the University of Illinois, MagniX has contributed a lot to the field of electric aircraft, but can only provide "modest" power for its own weight. Meanwhile, the big companies have made a lot of progress with megawatt-scale motors.


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