First commercial electric airplane completes test flight

An air ship planned in 1946 may turn into the principal business electric plane, after a short yet fruitful practice run. Vancouver-based Harbor Air’s took its “eBeaver” on a ten-minute jump on the Fraser River in Richmond, BC, with CEO and pilot Greg McDougall at the controls. “Today, we left a mark on the world,” he said in an announcement. Harbor Air anticipates that the eBeaver should go into business administration in 2022.

The eBeaver is a profoundly altered adaptation of de Havilland’s amazing DCH-2 Beaver, furnished with a 750 pull electric engine from Redmond, Washington-based Magnix. Harbor Air declared its association with Magnix not long ago and said it intended to construct the world’s first “totally electric business seaplane armada.”

Up until now, electric planes have neglected to make a big deal about a mark. A lot have been constructed, tried and even sold, however none are near being prepared to take paying travelers. “This is genuine,” Magnix CEO Roei Ganzarski told Fortune. “This is a carrier flying their own air ship.”

Harbour currently has 14 six-passenger DHC-2 Beaver aircraft, many of which are equipped with Pratt & Whitney PT-6A turbine engines that burn about $300 worth of jet A fuel per hour. By contrast, the eBeaver packs enough battery life to fly about 100 miles at a cost of around $10 to $20 worth of electricity.

E-planes have a very limited range compared to ICE-powered models because lithium-ion batteries have less than 5 percent the energy density of gasoline or jet fuel. However, 100 miles is enough for many of the short seaplane hops around Vancouver’s lower mainland. The distance between Vancouver and British Columbia capital Victoria (downtown to downtown) is 58 miles and takes about 30 minutes by plane, while the same trip on a ferry can run over four hours including driving time and waiting. (Also, as your author can attest from brutal experience, the flight is a lot less boring.)

Despite the range challenges, electric planes have big advantages over ICE-powered models. That includes lower maintenance and operating costs, no need for fueling infrastructure (other than chargers) and easier boarding on local routes. “We are proving that low-cost, environmentally friendly, commercial electric air travel can be a reality in the very near future,” said Ganzarski.