A six-seater ePlane, presented as the world’s first electric commercial aircraft, made its first test flight on Tuesday in the Vancouver region of western Canada. The aircraft, from the Canadian Air Harbor Airline, a 62-year-old DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver powered by an electric motor, flew a few minutes in the morning from the Fraser River at Harbour Air Seaplanes terminal in Richmond (YVR South) in front of a hundred curious and journalists.
“With the first flight of an all-electric powered commercial aircraft, we launched the electric era of aviation,” said Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX, which created the first 750-horsepower (560 kW) electric motor for Harbor Air, North America’s leading seaplane company.
The pilot of the test was Greg McDougall, founder, and president of Harbor Air, which has about 40 seaplanes and carries 500,000 passengers each year on short journeys along the Pacific Coast in the Canadian province of British Columbia.
Despite the successful flight, the main problem for the industry remains the range of flights due to the characteristics of batteries. With its battery life, the e-Beaver tested on Tuesday could cover about 160 km, which is the distance of most Harbor Air flights, McDougall said. A full charge of the electric DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver, according to the developers, should be enough for 30 minutes of flight.
The company stressed that the electrical installation is aimed at providing a “clean and efficient way to power the aircraft engines.” It is believed that switching to electric motors can be one way of reducing emissions in the aviation sector.