Two Seattle-based companies have teamed up to create the world’s largest electric aircraft to date: Magnix, an electric motor developer, and Harbor Air. The fruit of the collaboration is a redesigned Cessna Grand Caravan 208, which is packed with a 705-horsepower, zero-emission engine. The Caravan is one of the most popular medium-range passenger aircraft capable of carrying nine passengers on board. The test flight took place back in Washington last year. During the half-hour test, observers said it was barely audible to hear any sound coming from the Caravan, and even the smaller accompanying Cessna was much noisier.
However, according to Magnix, this is only the first step towards greening airlines thanks to similar engines. However, it is not just environmental sustainability that benefits these machines. Electric motors are easier to maintain than petrol ones and are also cheaper to operate. This represents a cost reduction of eighty percent per hour of operation. As a result, not only is the ticket cheaper, but it may also pave the way for smaller airports, which are currently less frequented, to which it is not worthwhile for current giants to fly. Unfortunately, electric planes currently have their drawbacks. This test machine, in the case of the Cessna Caravan, means that the maximum flight distance has shrunk from 1,931 kilometers to 161 kilometers. The reason is to be found in the battery, which is not yet as efficient as fossil fuels. The test machine is powered by a lithium-ion battery anyway, but this will soon be hopefully replaced by other, more efficient materials. Examples include lithium sulfide batteries or hydrogen fuel cells. Thanks to these and other technologies that have not yet been discovered, the number of passengers on such aircraft could rise to 20 in the next decade.
However, machines carrying up to 100 people are three or even four decades away. Magnix is not alone in developing similar machines, several companies are designing exclusively electric-powered aircraft. But NASA also entered the competition with the X-57 Maxwell, which is in the test phase. A green future for aviation would certainly be beneficial, as while the epidemic has now pushed air travel back a bit, a survey by Massachusetts University of Technology said this industry is wreaking havoc on nature as well as people directly. In addition to the horrific pollution caused by global air pollution, the premature death of 16,000 people a year can be linked to this form of flight.