We all know that electric cars are slowly gaining ground. What about electric planes? No, we don’t dream. The proof is the eCaravan. It is the largest fully electric airliner in the world. It is a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan powered by a MagniX electric powertrain. On May 28, he successfully completed his first test flight for half an hour. The origin and the destination was Moses Lake Airport in Washington State. The electric airplane is a very close reality.
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It is a Cessna converted by AeroTEC. It is a company that specializes in aircraft modification, engineering and fuselage integration. Driven by the magni500 electric drive system from MagniX. In its conventional version, this light aircraft can carry up to 13 passengers.
“The plane exceeded our expectations. There were a lot of people smiling and applauding. It was really great and super quiet,” said Lee Human. He is CEO and President of AeroTEC. “This 30-minute flight costs $ 6 of electricity. It would be 300-400 fuel and much louder, “added Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX.
This magni500 drive train can also be found in Harbor Air’s ePlane DHC-2 Beaver. The first historic electric flight of a commercial aircraft flew on December 10, 2019. The Magni500 of the caravan is operated at full power, the electrical equivalent of 750 hp. A video with a summary of the flight is here:
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Test, one, two, test
“Both planes are fully electric. It’s the same powertrain, the same inverter, the same battery controls,” Ganzarski said in an interview with Skies before the flight. Both are flying test benches. There are no seats in them, the batteries are in the body of the aircraft. It’s about testing the powertrain and electrical system, not trying to get people to fly. For now”.
The batteries are mounted in the aircraft cabin so that engineers and technicians can easily access them. There are video cameras in the fuselage. This means that the condition of the batteries can be monitored during test flights.
Once the propulsion system has been certified, the battery packs could replace the fuel tanks in the aircraft wing. The magni500 takes up less space than the P & W PT6A turboprop, which is usually powered by the 208B.
Improvements in battery technology are making rapid progress. Ganzarski hopes that MagniX-powered aircraft will be able to fulfill the “Middle Mile” mission. Refers to passenger and cargo flights of up to 1,000 miles. They hope to complete the certification program in less than two years, but it is inevitable: the electric aircraft is a reality.
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