A big step closer to electric aviation

 

An electric version of one of Cessna's most popular passenger and cargo planes has made a successful half-hour flight powered by a 750 hp electric engine drawing on a half-ton battery. The modified Cessna Grand Caravan is the world's largest all-electric commercial plane.

The test, at Moses Lake, Washington last Thursday was a collaboration between magniX, a developer of electric motors and AeroTEC, which specializes in aerospace testing, engineering and certification. They hope to win FAA approval for the plane by next year, with an improved battery system.

The Caravan and Grand Caravan series has been popular for short-haul flights and its ability to handle all kinds of airports; it has been built as a freighter for FedEx, as a seaplane, has military variants, and can carry up to 14 passengers.

MagniX hopes to be able to sell it into many of those short-haul applications, where the plane's characteristics and the clean electric power will make it economical; the estimated power cost for charging the plane for the test flight was $6.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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