A Seattle-based electric motor manufacturer, magniX, teamed up with Harbour Air to fit a Cessna Grand Caravan 208 with a 750-horsepower zero-emissions motor and they recently conducted their first test lake in Grant County’s Moses Lake Airstrip.
The CEO of magniX, Roei Ganzarski, says this is just the first step and that their company hopes to continue developing fully green engines for airplanes that could eventually power larger commercial airliners.
Not only do these planes not require fuel, the absence of a fuel engine helps reduce maintenance times and costs. These costs could even be reduced by as much as 80 percent.
Their hope at magniX is for these low-cost engines to enable smaller airports of less-popular regions to create transportation that may not be available with our traditional cost airplanes.
These planes do have some drawbacks, however. The range of the plane went from roughly 1,200 miles to around 100 miles with an electric engine. The engines simply are not as powerful for these types of durations.
The company understands that progress on the range will be made, albeit slowly. Advances in battery capacity and power happen often. There are a variety of options that are in development, such as lithium sulfur and hydrogen options. However batteries end up going, magniX says they are ready for wherever the science decides to go and batteries will be able to be used in their planes regardless of what they are made out of.
The company is also not alone, with companies such as Ampaire, Lilium, Embraer and Pipstrel going forward with all-electric plans. NASA is also testing their experimental all-electric tech.
While the airplane range was drastically reduced, the reduction in airline pollution is a great first step and this is an historic event to be sure!