CHOICE membership

Electric and Alternative Vehicle Fuels


Don’t overlook that it is a mere 115 years ago since the first powered flight and just under 50 years ago since the first manned moon landing.

Both of these were long believed impossible.


I appreciate the feedback @Fred123. I am a believer.

Also a little cautious about getting lulled into just how soon or how cheap.
The more contentious point about the promise is that Australian air travel is dominated by longer distances and jet aircraft. There is no immediate solution apparent other than taking a slower flight with a battery top up stop on the way. Additionally the suggestion battery power might save up to one third of the operating cost (fuel plus maintenance) of an aircraft, is only reasonably correct if both the battery and energy required is all free. It is not and it won’t be!

It also seems reasonable that when the next big thing in batteries arrives, it will need several years of exposure to the household and vehicle market plus extreme testing before it becomes accepted for aircraft use.

All my grand parents were born before the Wright Brothers showed off at Kitty Hawk. They never flew in a plane although three saw the first moon landing! For the first 80+ years air travel was an expensive luxury. In the 80’s it cost me more for a return flight between Sydney and Brisbane than what I earned pretax in a week! (Up Up and Away on a 727, or Reggie Ansetts screaming DC9). We have come a long way since.


Is it? What proportion of flights would come within the 1000 km single-charge range of the Eviation Alice mentioned in the article?


Flying in a 9 passenger two crew aircraft at 440kph? Very few perhaps.

The ABC news article on 24 April looked at aircraft equivalent to common turbo props. Their assessment.

Before 2030, small-to-medium 150-seat planes could be flying up to 500 kilometres.

How does the Eviation Alice compare with a Dash8 Q400 or ATR 72 or Boeing 737-100.

Is it in a different class?
The physical design is eye catching, in the same way some Lear Jets catch your attention.

The Eviation Alice might be a great concept and turn into a great solution. When there is a flying prototype and firm purchase price for a commercial registerable aircraft, we will all know for sure. :sunglasses:

And for those interested


I think you’ll find that the vast majority of aviation in Australia is regional shuttle flights of well under 1,000 km. The Alice fits the bill pretty well. It’s also promising as an air ambulance. The company has no doubt done its market research.


Are you referring to the “Unscheduled Flight” businesses, that fly charter, or contracted regional routes? And typically use aircraft such as the Cessna 208, Beechcraft King Air, Super King Air, DHC3 Twin Otter, etc. Having flown as a passenger in all of these and many more I’d welcome the upgrade.

It appears that we may be talking about two totally different outcomes.
I’m look at this from the view point of every day air travel made by the majority of Australians.

It might be useful to have some data on the size and economics of this market. IbisWorld suggests the “Unscheduled Flight” industry in Australia forecast for the current FY $1.1B out of a total industry turnover of $14B.

Flying in a super quite all electric propeller aircraft made with a high tech shell is a tantalising prospect.
All for a total take off weight of 6,350kg, including 3,460kg for batteries and 1,250kg for crew and passengers.

The total weight of the air frame/shell, seating, avionics, control systems and landing gear comes to just 1,640kg. That’s pretty impressive Engineering. More so if it only costs $2.9M for the ER version.

My experience in smaller aircraft includes numerous flights that have needed to abort landing due to conditions at the destination and fly the same distance again to an alternate or back to the origin. I would wonder about this in any aircraft. The practical authorised commercial flight leg of the EA may be closer to 500-600km.

And on the DHC-3 Twin Otter, whose reputation is probably sullied by doing some of the more challenging flying known to all of us, than just being a crappy aircraft. One where your bum is nearly on the floor, your knees in your face and the in flight service comes in a cardboard carton passed back from the air crew. Box does double duty if needed. Don’t forget the hearing protection.
(Not the Tw’Otter, please not again? The last one I flew in is likely and sadly for those on board stuck in the side of a mountain in PNG.)
Three electric motors does sound much better than one or two running on aviation fuel. Hopefully for the EA the seating and response to the environment is equally improved.


Now that you mention it, electric aviation is potentially a game-changer. The Alice, for example, is smaller than most current commercial aircraft, but costs substantially less to run (on paper, at least). That could lead to more frequent services and services on currently-unprofitable routes. The regional aviation market is in for a shake-up.

But you’re right, it isn’t a 737. Interesting times.


Interesting development. Presumably, Daimler judges the costs of rapid-charging outweigh the inefficiencies of hydrogen.


A very interesting article regarding the history of electric vehicles.



Following on from @Fred123, Sydney once had an impressive fleet of electric vehicles.


And Brisbane also.

Apparently Melburnians must be smarter.


Or perhaps just a little slower?

Brisbane arguably suffered from being poorly laid out and for the most part hilly. Having a fat river in the middle also did not help.

Notably when the NSW government designed early Brisbane it rejected wide streets as being necessary. Some say to ensure it could never rival Sydney!

Truthfully Brisbane roads with a few exceptions were never wide enough to share increased motor traffic with anything else. ‘Wilbur Smith’ an American helped with that decision. Even buses have proved problematic, hence the massive investment in dedicated bus ways for Brisbane.

Sydney had many constraints similar to Brisbane for its road network.

Melbourne and indeed Adelaide had none of these constraints, hence a different outcome!


It is interesting to note that battery research is a very busy area of research.

One demonstration using an Aluminium-Air battery installed in a small hatch hit 1100miles (1,760km) on a single charge.

Other items of interest?


Another article regarding flying cars.

Move over Jetsons.


Some years ago I watched a very interesting documentary on SBS titled “Who killed the electric car” regarding the history of GM’s EV1 electric vehicle

Seeing one of them in a slideshow today, as shown below, prompted me to revisit my memory of the documentary.

The attached link to the Wikipedia article provides a good overview of the whole sordid affair.

There is also a low quality video of the documentary.

If the vested interests had not had the electric vehicles killed off, how advanced would they have been today?


I believe it is also available on one of the streaming services…perhaps Amazon Prime or Netflix. Next time I am using them I will take a look to see if and which one does have it.

Edit: It is on Netflix in US (forgot I was on my VPN for that) but here it is on Amazon Prime.


It’s very enlightening to see the documentary make many topical observations.

These include the potential threats posed by Electric vehicles to the fuel industry and also the after market or service industries. The typical annual cost of ownership of a family or light vehicle can be from $5,000 to more than $10,000. This excludes the cost of the Capital or purchase price.

The doco even in the 1990’s predicted the potential for impact of the EV on the servicing, parts and related business.


This feeds an industry worth $100’s of billions to the local economy.

It is both politically relevant and powerful. No pun here!

Economically to the consumer there are significant savings in walking away from these businesses. The one thing holding consumers back is an EV has a much greater upfront cost, while the savings accrue over time. Presently the savings are not sufficient to justify the extra upfront expense or are affordable for most.

The opportunity is for government to find a way to address the gap in cost/value. And at the same time replace the economic value to the nation of the industries providing the soon to be extinct services with increased local content in the new vehicle market. Is that an assembly line clinking away and the haze of a primary cell manufacturing industry?


This could get ugly:


Whilst people are debating whether hydrogen or electric is the future for terrestial vehicles, NASA is funding research into hydrogen powered electric planes.