First commercial electric plane takes flight in Canada

Daniel Fowler
December 12, 2019

Vancouver-based Harbour Air's took its "eBeaver" on a ten-minute hop on the Fraser River in Richmond, BC, with CEO and pilot Greg McDougall at the controls. "I actually had to back off on the power", McDougall said.

MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarki told Fortune that charging electric planes is 60% to 80% cheaper than fueling an aircraft with fossil-fuels.

Ganzarski said the technology would mean significant cost savings for airlines - not to mention zero emissions. Harbour Air announced its partnership with Magnix earlier this year and said it planned to build the world's first "completely electric commercial seaplane fleet". The emissions contribute to global warming and climate change, which scientists say will unleash ever harsher droughts, superstorms, and sea-level rise.

Harbour Air flies a fleet of 14 DHC-2 Beaver, 22 DHC-3 Otters, and 3 DHC-6 Twin Otters, making it the biggest seaplanes operator in Northern America.

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In December 1903, the Wright Brothers launched a new era of transportation - the aviation age - with the first flight of a powered aircraft.

The e-plane has to be tested further to confirm it is reliable and safe. The aircraft can only fly about 100 miles (160 kilometers) for now, but that's sufficient for the sort of short-hop journeys the airline needs. It participates in several other electric aircraft projects, including Alice, another electric fixed-wing being developed by the Israeli company Eviation Aircraft.

Harbour Air didn't immediately respond to a CNN request for comment. "We are proving that low-priced, environmentally friendly, commercial electric air travel can be a reality in the very near future", said Ganzarski.

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