The eco-saving power of this Cessna “eCaravan” motor by MagniX
Not too long ago, we covered the future of sustainable fuel, and how airlines have been very slow at adopting it. To give a quick refresher on what sustainable aircraft fuel (SAF) is, it’s a fuel alternative that’s developed with recycled materials, such as cooking oils, agricultural residues, or municipal waste. It also reduces the number of resources required from land and water supplies. While there have been steps forward to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the issue with SAF was the price. The slow adoption of SAF has saved CO2 emissions by 80% so far, but there are alternatives in the form of propulsion technologies, and this is where the Cessna eCaravan comes into play.
The eCaravan is the largest electric aircraft to be put into flight, which is powered by a MagniX motor. The goal of this Seattle-based manufacturer is to develop an electric motor that will “jump-start a future of air travel” using zero-emissions as opposed to simply reducing the emission footprint. The benefit of this is that if the development goes well, middle-mile aircraft with zero emissions can be made at a fraction of the cost.
To explain what exactly was being tested, CEO of MagniX, Roei Ganzarski explains that “the Cessna Caravan 208 was used since it is one of the most widely-used middle-mile aircraft, as normally, the challenge operators have with the engine is that it guzzles a lot of gas, creates a lot of emissions, needs a lot of maintenance and costs a lot of money per hour to operate”. The aircraft in question is 37 feet long and can hold 9 passengers within normal circumstances, however, that would change with the switch of using battery technology to the motor.
The motor in question is a Magni500 motor, which powers the plane’s single propeller and drives it at about 750 horsepower, aiming for middle-mile flight ranges. The reason being is that, as it stands right now, it will be an effort to prove that lithium-ion batteries can deliver realistic and attainable flight times. The motor right now cuts the range from 1,200 miles to about 100 miles, which is barely enough to fly cross country. Plus, the challenge of how heavy the aircraft is, as it needs to not only take itself off the ground, but the passengers and cargo as well, so any battery MagniX motor cannot be heavier than the equivalent amount of fuel.
The benefits to improving this technology have significantly higher positives, as besides the clear environmentally friendly benefit that electric engines provide, there are other predicted advantages as well. For example, due to the zero-emission nature of the aircraft, it would require less effort to maintain than fuel-based aircraft and will be 50% to 80% cheaper per hour to operate. Which will, of course, lead to cheaper ticket prices, and encourage airlines to operate smaller airplanes on routes to underserved airports. Of course, this doesn’t understate the inherent benefit of zero-emissions either, as by comparison, normally the Caravan uses around $300 to $400 in fuel. The 30-minute test flight of the “eCaravan” meanwhile, would have cost $6 in electricity, taking flight location price into consideration, clocking in at over 2 cents per kilowatt-hour
MagniX is still continuing test flights, and are aiming to gain an FAA certification. There is also development on a 1,500-horsepower motor for larger aircraft to come soon. MagniX has a lot to prove regarding the safety and requirements needed to make electric motors up to par with fuel-based engines. MagniX is not the only one attempting to innovate electric engines either, even in the aviation industry. Established firms like Airbus, Embraer and etcetera, have developed their own prototypes, and even the Taxi Service company Uber is planning on developing electric air taxis
Until then, Miami Jet will be here to provide you with the best aircraft that’s available right now. If you want to enjoy all the advantages of flying private, give us a call and we’ll tell you all about our unmatched inventory of pre-owned aircraft. If you want to sell your jet, our dedicated sales representatives will get you top dollar in the shortest possible time! Contact us today to schedule a viewing!