North American seaplane operator, Harbour Air, will see its first electrically-powered aircraft take to the skies later today.
This exciting development was unveiled earlier this year, and has since become one of the most advanced projects in terms of electric aviation right now.
The aircraft being tested is a turboprop yet has an electric motor. Developed by magniX, the electric motor is extremely advanced.
Yesterday, the aircraft performed taxi and skip tests on the Fraser River.
Earlier this year at the Paris Airshow, we spoke to the CEO of magniX, Roei Ganzarski. He told us that the new partnership with Harbour Air would greatly decrease the airline's maintenance and overall costs, while also providing a more cleaner operation in terms of the environment.
"In terms of an environmental impact, it will be zero emissions. Today, everyone’s already aware of the environmental impact that we as humans are having on the world. About 4% of CO2 and greenhouse gases are created by airplanes. In North America, that’s 12%, that includes Canada. And so, by having an all-electric airline, like Harbour Air, zero emissions and it’s good for the environment."
Today, Tuesday December 10, 2019, the first Harbour Air "ePlane," as they call it, will take to the skies on a test flight.
If all goes to plan, Harbour Air will become fully electric in under 10 years.
MagniX have created an electric motor which can easily be fitted onto a propeller aircraft such as Harbour Air's DHC-3 de Havilland Turbine Single Otters. The electric motor simply replaces the existing one.
"When it’s a high cost to operate [an aircraft], the ticket price is high. That means, less people can fly. Harbour Air will be able to lower their ticket price significantly, because, to operate an electric plane, it’s 60-80% cheaper than a traditional plane." - magniX CEO, Roei Ganzarski.
MagniX hoped to begin tests in November, however that has of course now been moved to December. The company hopes to get certification by the end of 2021, and if all goes to plan, the first ePlane will enter into commercial service in 2022.