On Thursday, the 1st electric Cessna 208B Grand Caravan made its maiden flight. It is powered by one 750 hp (horsepower) Magni500 all-electric propulsion system. The engine was created and designed by Magnix and AeroTec and, according to them, the plane is the largest aircraft to have an all-electric propulsion system. The 2 companies intend to name the model the eCaravan, and are aiming to acheive certification by the end of next year. It is interesting to see how the aircraft functions, because it is not like something we usually see. Drawing power from a set of 750-volt lithium-ion batteries that weigh around one tonne, the aircraft is capable of flying for 30 minutes, before needing to be charged for the same amount of time. Magnix CEO, Roei Ganzarski, has announced: “The iconic Caravan has been a workhorse of the industry, moving people and transporting goods on short routes for decades. 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 [of JetA-powered aircraft], with zero emissions, from and to smaller airports.”
Since the beginning of the Caravan’s production in 1982, over 2600 aircraft have been made, of which all models are currently powered by one Pratt & Whitney PT6A engine (there are many different types of PT6As and the Caravan series isn’t only fitted with one type). The Caravan series has been an enormous success story, despite many crashes having occured. Cargo versions, passengers versions, models specifically created for water landings… you name it, the Caravan series is capable of doing more than any other utility aircraft in the world! It can even land on snow (that is why it is so popular in Canada)! Fedex is its biggest operator, flying 239. This looks exciting. Maybe flying will become something that doesn’t pollute and that is cheap and accessible to everyone. Of course, electricity does cost, but… Let’s leave that for another day. If you have any questions about the Caravan series, just write your inquiry in the comments section. McCloud, 31st of May 2020.