The skies may be quieter than ever as the airline industry continues to feel the absence of global and domestic passengers due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, but that hasn’t stopped major innovation developments in the industry’s zero emissions space.
MagniX, headquartered in Seattle, USA with an engineering centre centred on the Gold Coast, in partnership with AeroTec (who develops, tests and certifies new aircraft products), has just enabled the world’s largest all-electric commercial aircraft to complete its maiden voyage in Washington state.
The historic aircraft, the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, took off from an airport in Moses Lake, Washington last week and used a 751-horsepower all-electric motor developed by magniX and engineered in Queensland. As the world’s largest all-electric commercial aircraft, the eCaravan is regarded as a significant milestone in further disrupting the airline and transportation industries towards an electric, zero emissions future.
“This first flight of the eCaravan is yet another step on the road to operating these middle-mile aircraft at a fraction of the cost, with zero emissions, from and to smaller airports,” said Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX, in a statement.
The successful 30 minute, 160km test flight used less than USD$6 worth of electricity and Aerotec stated that the flying of the eCaravan served as another critical step in the certification and approval process of the magni500 propulsion system, enabling future conversions of additional aircraft to magniX’s all-electric propulsion technology.
Further, this is a local engineering success story! PV Magazine previously reported that, in their Gold Coast facility, magniX ran eight versions of the engine in rugged conditions, at all temperatures and for more than 1,000 hours, to stress-test reliability. They went on to report that in late 2018, the magniX team began using the motor to turn aircraft propellers and then unplugged from the wall to demonstrate that propulsion capability could be based purely on battery power.
With the surge in electric vehicle adoption, the unveiling of e-taxis and e-ferries, and now the maiden voyage of the world’s largest all-electric commercial aircraft, it’s an exciting time for electric vehicles on the road, sea and in the air.
*image courtesy of magniX
*As the system and market operator, we are fuel and technology neutral. The products, services and providers in this content are for illustrative purposes only and are not endorsed by AEMO.