AeroTEC and magniX successfully conducted the first flight of their eCaravan all-electric Cessna 208B Grand Caravan on Thursday. The 30-minute flight took place at the AeroTEC Flight Test Center, which is located at Grant County International Airport (MWH) in Moses Lake, Washington. According to magniX, the eCaravan is currently the world’s largest all-electric commercial aircraft.
“The iconic Caravan has been a workhorse of industry moving people and transporting goods on short routes for decades,” said magniX CEO Roei Ganzarski. “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.”
The eCaravan is powered by the 750-horsepower (560 kW) magniX magni500 propulsion system. magniX says the eCaravan flight is a critical step in the certification and approval process for the magni500 system. As previously reported by AVweb, the magni500 was also used to power the all-electric DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver flown for the first time by Canada’s Harbour Air last December.
Anybody know where the batteries are mounted, how much they weigh, and how long of a flight is possible? I used to fly the model of Caravan pictured so I know the factory specs for fuel loads and endurance.
Does a conversion to electric still require meeting the FAA regs on having enough ‘fuel’ on board for another 30 minutes to divert to another airport?
I had the opportunity to attend a MagniX Q&A presentation, the first thing they talked about was the power source. MagniX is an Electric Motor company. They don’t invent the source of power. They engineer the management of the source to their Motor. They admitted that a desirable power source is not ready for Aviation yet.
The good news from the Beaver test flights (still ongoing) is the decrease in drag, the benefits with low RPM direct drive to the propeller and lack of density altitude consequences.
The first power source solution maybe a Jet-A hybrid and would give equivalent range with less fuel and maintenance. Obviously, if anyone has created a competitive ‘Electric’ option for the automotive and/or marine industry they wouldn’t be selling anything else. Although, Trains have been Diesel/Electric for a long time.
There is no information here to get me excited or suspect that our fuel burning engines are in jeopardy of being replaced. All we know is it flew for 30 minutes. How far CAN it fly? 31 minutes? What does it weigh? What’s the useful load? A Caravan that can’t haul a load is an expensive paperweight.