As the world leader in logistics, DHL has got more than enough capacity to carry any kind of goods whether by road, rail, ocean or air. However, although the latter turns out to be the fastest transport method, it is also the most expensive and polluting one more than anything. But fortunately, the Alice eCargo is set to be a game changer.
On a mission for decarbonation
According to the latest statistics published by the European Environment Agency, aviation represents nearly 4% of total greenhouse gas emissions within the EU only. On a global scale, this figure rises up to 7%, as reported by WWF Switzerland.
With the increase in the number of cargo flights and the decarbonisation of other industries such as the automotive one, air traffic could even account for up to a fourth of global emissions by 2050, which is precisely the year by which DHL has pledged to become carbon-neutral.
And this is where the Alice eCargo comes into play. Designed by Eviation – an Israeli-American start-up specialised in sustainable aviation – it is nothing less than the world’s very first fully electric cargo plane, and it’s about to be used by DHL for its aerial shipments.
A giant leap for electric aviation
Besides only needing a single pilot on board, this aircraft is able to carry over a tonne of cargo at a cruise speed of up to 400 km/h. Its maximum range reaches 815 km with a charging time of under 30 minutes per flight hour – just the time needed for loading and/or unloading goods on and off the plane.
|Pilots needed||Cargo capacity||Max. cruise speed||Max. range||Charging time|
|1||1,250 kg||400 km/h||815 km||< 30 min. / flight hour|
While one could argue that these technical specifications are hardly impressive when compared to those of a Boeing 777 (which can hold more than 100 tonnes of payload at 950 km/h for over 10,000 km), DHL claims it would be impossible for the Alice eCargo to even take off due to the weight of the batteries needed to match such capabilities.
Always with the aim of decarbonising its different fleets – aviation being the most difficult one to transform in the long run – the German group had already ordered a dozen of those aircrafts from Eviation back in August 2021 to start electrifying its aerial vehicles as early as possible.
Although these aren’t expected to be delivered before 2024, a maiden flight is being planned still for this year after successful ground tests earlier in May. That’s one small step for DHL towards net-zero decarbonisation, and one giant leap for Alice in the land of electric aviation.
A propos de Andre Vincart
Studying e-commerce at the University of Strasbourg and working in web content translation and mobile UX/UI design in Luxembourg.