MagniX Electric AircraftMagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered Cessna Grand Caravan.

MagniX


  • A Washington company has taken to the skies in the world’s largest electric aircraft, a modified Cessna Grand Caravan.
  • Departing from Moses Lake, Washington, the aircraft flew around for 30 minutes before returning safely without using aviation fuel. 
  • The flight is a milestone for MagniX, the company aiming to revolutionize aviation by creating sustainable engines powered with electricity rather than traditional fuel. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Electric aircraft are getting larger and larger, a positive sign for an industry historically reliant upon petroleum-based fuels. On Thursday, a Cessna Grand Caravan powered solely by electricity departed from Moses Lake, Washington, and successfully cruised around in the skies without using jet fuel before landing safely.

It was the latest milestone for MagniX, a company determined to reshape aviation by powering aircraft electrically rather than with fuel. And while the Grand Caravan is the largest electric aircraft MagniX has ever flown successfully, it wasn’t the first as MagniX debuted a smaller electric plane in 2019 borrowed from Canada’s Harbour Air.

The electric seaplane is working towards certification to soon ferry passengers around British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, making it one of the few passenger planes not dependent on aviation fuel for power. 

The engine powering both the seaplane and Grand Caravan, however, is the same, with the Magni500 offering the propeller aircraft 750 horsepower. It’s one of two engines being produced by MagniX, and the more powerful one compared to the Magni250 offering 375 horsepower. 

While modifying existing aircraft to electrically-powered machines rather than gas guzzlers, MagniX is also working with new manufacturers to develop the planes of the future powered by its engines. 

Take a closer look at the world’s largest electric plane and the company behind it. 

History was made on Thursday, according to MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarski. The 30-minute first flight of MagniX’s Cessna Grand Caravan on in May proved that large, turboprop aircraft could be powered and flown electrically.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered Cessna Grand Caravan.

MagniX


Source: Popular Mechanics, Seattle Times, and MagniX/AeroTex

The Grand Caravan, a utility plane capable of carrying passengers or cargo, typically relies on Jet-A aviation fuel.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered Cessna Grand Caravan.

MagniX


Replacing the normally expensive and cost-volatile fuel were lithium-ion batteries loaded into the aircraft’s cabin. While fuel prices have been low in recent months, high oil prices have seen the demise of some airlines unable to afford it.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered Cessna Grand Caravan.

MagniX


Source: Seattle Times

The total set up powering the Magni500 engine that weighs around two tons and takes up the entirety of the cabin, leaving no room for passengers, at least on this prototype.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered Cessna Grand Caravan.

MagniX


Source: Seattle Times

The set-up for the first flight was purely for proof of concept, with Ganzarski telling the Seattle Times that no effort was made to accommodate passengers. The design and battery placement were purely to get the plane in the air to show large planes such as the Grand Caravan can fly on battery power.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered Cessna Grand Caravan.

MagniX


Source: Seattle Times

The aircraft itself looks no different than its fuel-powered siblings, the only difference being the large three-blade propeller is powered by a battery.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered Cessna Grand Caravan.

MagniX


Now that the concept has been proven, MagniX can focus on certification and better incorporating the batteries powering its engines into the aircraft so that passengers can actually fly on electric aircraft.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered Cessna Grand Caravan.

MagniX


The Redmond, Washington-based manufacturer is highlighting its accomplishments in the field as indicative of the beginning of a new era.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered Cessna Grand Caravan.

MagniX


Here’s the Grand Caravan posing in front of a Boeing 747, a four-engine symbol of aviation’s dependence on traditional fuels.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered Cessna Grand Caravan.

MagniX


MagniX estimates that the plane will only be able to fly around 100 miles using battery power, a far cry from the normal ranges a fuel-powered Grand Caravan boasts.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered Cessna Grand Caravan.

MagniX


Source: Popular Mechanics

But the operating cost would be lower, by around 40-70% per hour.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered Cessna Grand Caravan.

MagniX


Source: The Guardian

Real Life. Real News. Real Voices

Help us tell more of the stories that matter

Become a founding member

Like most electric vehicles, the challenge becomes finding places to recharge, which may prove to be difficult in the remote environments that the Grand Caravan often finds itself in.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered Cessna Grand Caravan.

MagniX


MagniX first successfully demonstrated the initial concept of a battery-powered aircraft with a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver.

MagniX


Source: Harbour Air

The electric-powered six-passenger seaplane took to the skies for the first time in 2019, as part of a partnership between Canadian regional airline Harbour Air and MagniX.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver.

MagniX


Source: Harbour Air

Once the electric aircraft is certified, Harbour Air has said it will retrofit its entire fleet to battery-powered, reducing emissions and costs.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver.

MagniX


Source: Harbour Air

Both the electric Beaver and Grand Caravan could be certified for commercial use by 2022, as using existing airframes makes certification easier.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver.

MagniX


Source: Seattle Times

The hurdle will be clearing aviation regulators in the US and Canada as Harbour Air is based in Vancouver while MagniX is based in Redmond, Washington.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

A MagniX-modified and battery-powered de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver.

MagniX


MagniX is also working with Eviation, a company similarly focused on sustainable aviation, to power its Alice aircraft.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

The Eviation Alice electric plane.

MagniX


Source: Eviation

First debuted at the Paris Air Show in 2019, the electric plane can seat nine and fly over 500 nautical miles.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

The Eviation Alice electric plane.

MagniX


Source: CNBC

The aircraft aims to be certified by the end of 2022, powered by MagniX engines, with US regional airline Cape Air expected to order it.

MagniX Electric Aircraft

The Eviation Alice electric plane.

MagniX


Source: CNBC

More:

Features
Planes
BITranspo
Cessna

Chevron iconIt indicates an expandable section or menu, or sometimes previous / next navigation options.

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.