New Alice Starts Taxi Testing

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Vigilant1

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A ten year moat is pretty sweet to investors.
Time will tell if it is a ten year moat (free of competitors) or a ten year drought (free of ROI).

Having dough tied up for a long time earning zilch is gonna sting if inflation stays high.

But, perhaps all will go well. Any realistic estimates of the Kw expenditure of this plane in climb and cruise?
 

addaon

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Having dough tied up for a long time earning zilch is gonna sting if inflation stays high.
There's still just so much money out there with no where else to go. Maybe if we see 8% interest rates some of it will dry up, but for now it's still a great time to lock in midsized investors for an extended runway.

But, perhaps all will go well. Any realistic estimates of the Kw expenditure of this plane in climb and cruise?

No specific knowledge, but we can reasonably guess. Climb / max power is going to be sized by excess energy for climb and minimal single engine climb. The former is likely to give us about 13 lbs/hp, and the latter about 20 lbs/hp single engine, so we can guess that they're probably around 1600 hp (1200 kW) total. That puts 600 kW/motor, which is under a kA for an 800 V system, which passes the sniff test.

For cruise, we expect to find around 50% of max power -- less than normal, but efficiency matters here. To hit it in a different direction, an efficient cruise on a ship designed for exactly that is likely around a 14:1 L/D, so 1140 lbs drag. If they're getting 1.3 lbs/hp thrust (86% efficiency at 220 kts cruise), that's 880 hp, or 650 kW; which is 54% of max power, sane.

They mention that they have about 8000 lbs of batteries. Unclear if that's the raw cell weight or the integrated pack weight. The cells they're using are about 270 Wh/kg, so if that's cell weight it would be just under 1 MW*hr; if it's integrated pack weight, and assuming that they're pushing the "early prototype" hard and minimizing safety features to maximize range, it's probably 30% less than that. Taking that latter number, 700 kW*hr would give them one hour cruise, no reserve and minimal derate, which is VERY good.
 
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Dan Thomas

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The calculations might look workable at this point, for an hour's flight, but what about pressurization, heating and cooling? What about de- or anti-ice? All that stuff will eat a lot of electricity.
 

Dan Thomas

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From the article:

Back in February, after setbacks and delays last year, Alice had begun taxi tests on the ground and Davis said then he anticipated the first flight within weeks.

At that time, Eviation had 110 employees and he projected hiring 60 more this year.

Since then, reality has set in and management has slowed the schedule substantially.

Seven months passed before the plane finally lifted off. And rather than hiring aggressively, in the interim Eviation has cut jobs: It now has just 90 employees.


Yup. Reality has set in. Reality tends to do that.
 

addaon

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Those can be developed and demonstrated independently.

I feel like there's a certain lack of understanding on this board in general (not picking on anyone specific!) about how startups work.

Most of us are interested in building an airplane. That's not a hard thing to do -- see, for example, that some of us even pull it off! A company isn't interested in building an airplane. They're building multiple prototypes, as needed, as part of an R&D program to get a type certificate for a new Part 23 aircraft, a Part 145 sign-off on a factory with production tooling, and commitments from customers to purchase aircraft if they hit certain performance milestones.

Everyone involved knows that today's batteries don't satisfy the mission. They acknowledge it in the interview quoted earlier. That's not the point. Batteries will improve over time, in which case the mission becomes possible; or they won't, in which case no one else will succeed either.

They've chosen, wisely, to not be a battery development company; they're using cells developed by others. All they can do is wait, there. In the meantime, they have a huge amount of technology to derisk, engineering to do, paperwork to get in order, factories to build, etc. It makes zero sense to start a new certification project aiming at where the ball is now -- you have to aim at where it's going to be when you get there. Most of their deferred risk is in the pace of battery development; in the meantime, their job and their value is to derisk everything else.

Again, I don't particularly love this design; but I'm pretty sure that this is a reasonably responsible company doing what their investors have agreed with them to do, and by all appearances doing it well. I'm sure we'll see creativity over the next few years in further testing. Will they build a prototype with turboprops to reach their service ceiling and do high-altitude testing before the batteries are ready for that? Maybe, and that makes sense, it doesn't mean they're giving up on the main mission. Will they build other demonstrators? Hope so, they're fun to see.

Right now they're at 90 employees, which means they're probably burning not much more than $90M/year. They'll have to scale beyond that to get to certification, so they'll be looking at another round; but if they can get 2.5 years runway now (more than the standard 1.5 year we usually target because the raise environment is getting worse), that'll put them at a point where they have several more milestones in the books and need to do another raise; and from there, probably less than $1B gets them to the type certificate. Is that type certificate and other IP worth the $2B in opportunity cost if the batteries don't arrive at roughly the same time? No, not even close, but that's the risk that goes with investing.
 

Monty

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Uhhh....I'm intimately involved in startups. There is a lot of dumb money, and most of it seems to find it's way into the aviation space for some reason. Aviation is where capital goes to die. Including mine.
 

Monty

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Apparently, there is a massive shortage of calculators.


BJC
I was recently at an expo involving electric flight. These people don't even understand how airplanes work. One company in particular was trying to replace the Cessna Caravan. The thing had 7K lbs of batteries. No ability to trade fuel for cargo, and no range. Recharging takes overnight. Forget a quick turn. They are afraid to charge it at a fast rate because it might catch on fire. To make matters worse they were planning a vtol version. Moller was a piker. I don't think Cessna is worried....
 

Dan Thomas

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Everyone involved knows that today's batteries don't satisfy the mission. They acknowledge it in the interview quoted earlier. That's not the point. Batteries will improve over time, in which case the mission becomes possible; or they won't, in which case no one else will succeed either.
And if batteries don't improve much, an awful lot of money has gone down the drain. These guys aren't the Wright Brothers, who didn't solicit investor funds to build their airplane.

I was skeptical about Eviation after I saw their first attempt. A taildragger? In a bizjet? Really? And with motors and props at the wingtips? How are crosswind landings and takeoffs supposed to happen? And another prop at the tail right behind the tailwheel where it will get chewed up by FOD thrown up by the tailwheel? The whole thing looked like it was designed by non-aviation people.

1664318453261.png
 
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And if batteries don't improve much, an awful lot of money has gone down the drain. These guys aren't the Wright Brothers, who didn't solicit investor funds to build their airplane.

I was skeptical about Eviation after I saw their first attempt. A taildragger? In a bizjet? Really? And with motors and props at the wingtips? How are crosswind landings and takeoffs supposed to happen? And another prop at the tail right behind the tailwheel where it will get chewed up by FOD thrown up by the tailwheel? The whole thing looked like it was designed by non-aviation people...
Yes, when that photo first appeared I posted in several places "This is what happens when you let graphic designers configure airplanes." To my eye, the biggest problem here is that the MAC location clearly makes it statically unstable unless the batteries are all located right in the nose. Of course, that problem had strong competition from the tip motors, taildragger configuration, FOD-prone props, and all the other issues.

As I understand it, this configuration was quietly retired when the prototype initiated Eviation into the "burned down an airplane" club that is so often the common denominator among airframe firms that assemble their own battery packs.
 

addaon

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And if batteries don't improve much, an awful lot of money has gone down the drain.
This is a small startup, every investor involved knows exactly what risks are involved, and most of them have board representation. If they have a 1% chance of success... well, it's a better chance of ending up with something than buying 4% bonds with 8% inflation.
 

jedi

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This is a small startup, every investor involved knows exactly what risks are involved, and most of them have board representation. If they have a 1% chance of success... well, it's a better chance of ending up with something than buying 4% bonds with 8% inflation.

4% bonds with 8% inflation at the end of 10 years you still have about 50% of the principal in the bank.

With a one percent chance of success at the end of 10 years there is a 99% chance that you have next to nothing of value.

For those that have "more money than they can spend", formerly know as money to burn, that is better than just burning the money depending on your position on global warming.

My Uncle Sam is the poster child for someone with taxpayer* money to burn and these startups are equal opportunity professionals working for my uncle. Does it help make me proud to be an American?

*A taxpayer is defined as anyone who has "more money than they can spend". The taxpayer has money that the tax collector has spent, or in some rare cases will soon spend.
 
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tspear

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Uhhh....I'm intimately involved in startups. There is a lot of dumb money, and most of it seems to find it's way into the aviation space for some reason. Aviation is where capital goes to die. Including mine.

Now, can you send some my way? I worked with an individual who has patents on a design to reduce water usage for a sprinkler system. Could not find any investors.
My partner and I are considering looking for investors for our cyber security software, we are close to finishing the first release. :D

Tim
 

tspear

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I met an investor in an electric airplane startup; when asked why he invested. His answer was pretty simple. He has a certain amount of capital set aside to chase moon shots. And he picks the best moon shot he can find; not expecting a return but hoping for one, and hoping to leave society in a better place.

Kinda interesting take....

Tim
 
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