From The Vancouver Sun
Somebody check me here, but doesn’t this seem like a whooooolllllleeeee lot of wishful thinking?~ctm
A B.C. airline and a Seattle-area engine maker say they’ve found a quicker route to electrification by converting a small bush plane with batteries and an electric motor
Jeff Bell, Victoria Times Colonist
Updated: March 26, 2019
A transition from seaplane to e-plane is set to begin.
Harbour Air is embarking on what is believed to be a world first, adding an electric plane to its fleet — a zero-emission aircraft powered by a 750-horsepower electric motor.
The company has 42 planes and 12 routes, and operates from centres such as Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle. It is North America’s largest seaplane airline, serving 500,000 passengers on 30,000 commercial flights every year.
“The intent is to eventually convert the whole fleet,” said Harbour Air’s founder and CEO. Greg McDougall. of the move to electric planes. “It would be a staged situation because the range of the (electric) aircraft presently, with the present battery capacity, would be around a half an hour with a half-an-hour reserve.
“But that’s changing very rapidly with the development of the battery technology.”
The first plane to be converted will be the six-passenger DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver, which is used across Harbour Air routes.
“The first one would be a prototype, which is basically proving the technology for Transport Canada and getting toward certification,” McDougall said.
Harbour Air is taking on the electric-plane venture with Washington state’s magniX — a company specializing in creating electric propulsion for air travel. The partners anticipate conducting the first flight tests in November.
McDougall said nobody has ever flown a fully electric commercial flight.
“If you think about it, it’s the evolution of transportation toward electric propulsion,” he said. “The internal combustion engine is all but obsolete, really, for future development.