The First All-Electric Commercial Seaplane Takes Flight
While we’ve been driving electric cars for years now, the aviation industry has remained a few paces behind—but not without lack of trying. Lithium ion batteries are still too heavy to make long haul zero emission flying a feasible concept but a collaboration between Canada’s Harbour Air and US engineering company magniX are aiming to change that.
The first commercial electric seaplane took flight in Richmond, British Columbia this Tuesday. The plane, which is a modified version of an existing DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver equipped with a Magni500 electric propulsion system. The aircraft marks the first step in a more ambitious plan to create a larger commercial airline.
MagniX’s 750-hp electric motor engine made its debut at the Paris Air Show earlier this year. The high powered electric propulsion system was made to provide an efficient and sustainable way to power airplanes. The two companies plan to advance the concept by the end of 2021, depending on certifications and approvals.
“In December 1903, the Wright Brothers launched a new era of transportation—the aviation age—with the first flight of a powered aircraft. Today, 116 years later, with the first flight of an all-electric powered commercial aircraft, we launched the electric era of aviation,” magniX CEO Roei Ganzarski said in a press release.
The transportation industry and specifically the aviation segment that has been, for the most part, stagnant since the late 1930s, is ripe for a massive disruption. Now we are proving that low-cost, environmentally friendly, commercial electric air travel can be a reality in the very near future.”
While this isn’t the first all-electric aircraft to take flight, it is the first to actually carry passengers and because of that, it’s considered another step forward in the all-electric future of aviation.
“The [flight] range now is not where we'd love it to be, but it's enough to start the revolution," said Ganzarski.