First flight for world’s largest commercial battery electric aircraft

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The electric aircraft is a converted Cessna 208B Grand Caravan uses the 135kg magni500 560kW (750hp) electric motor which runs at 1900rpm. A video of the flight is below.

The liquid cooled 540V motor in the eCaravan electric aircraft has an architecture with four 3-phase drive units to allow for graceful degradation should a fault occur, enhancing the safety of the electric system, and the full torque of 2814 Nm is available even at low RPM and is not impacted by altitude. There is a direct drive to propeller so there is no need for a reduction gearbox and it integrates with off-the-shelf propeller governors for variable pitch control.

This is aimed at retro-fitting aircraft such as the Beaver seaplane which MagniX has already demonstrated in flight, the Cessna Caravan, King Air, Otter and aircraft. Th emotor is also intended for clean-sheet electric aircraft designs as a stand alone propulsion or as part of a larger multi-motor electric aircraft.

A Cessna retrofitted with a hydrogen fuel cell to provide electric power was flown last year: RUSSIAN PHYSICIST FLIES AIRCRAFT WITH HYDROGEN POWERTRAIN

German electric aircraft startup Lilium has also flown a protype version of its long distance design for commercial use: LILIUM RAISES $240m, FLIES PROTOTYPE

The challenge has been getting the power to weight ratio right for the motor and battery pack to carry mutiple customers for commercial services. “The iconic Caravan has been a workhorse of industry moving people and transporting goods on short routes for decades,” said Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX. “This first flight of the eCaravan is yet another step on the road to operating these middle-mile aircraft at a fraction of the cost, with zero emissions, from and to smaller airports. These electric commercial aircraft will enable the offering of flying services of people and packages in a way previously not possible.”

“There’s no roadmap for testing and certifying electric aircraft – this is a new frontier and AeroTEC is on the front lines developing the processes and best practices that will pave the way for electric aviation,” said Lee Human, President and CEO of AeroTEC.


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