A Seattle engineering firm named MagniX and a nearby Vancouver air charter company named Harbour Air has partnered to create the first commercial all-electric plane. The test plane is vintage 1957 de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, which was used for short flights from Anchorage to remote Alaskan villages. The modified DHC-2 Beaver has a 450 HP electric engine (this is the same power as the original engine) and runs on a bank of lithium-ion batteries.
Harbour Air’s founder Greg McDougall piloted the prototype aircraft on its first flight which lasted just under 15 minutes. MagniX chief Roei Ganzarski says the plane it tested for this flight could fly up to 100 miles, a perfect solution for short distances such as the corridor between Seattle and Vancouver.
The next step for the companies is to go through the regulatory test and paperwork, as well as, government safety rules. Harbour and MagniX expect this will take at least a couple of years, after which they can hopefully upgrade their entire fleet.