All-electric Cessna Grand Caravan makes maiden flight

Cessna eCaravan © MagniX

On May 29, 2020, a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan with a Magni500 electric motor of 560 kW (750 hp) chartered by the company MagniX became the largest 100% electric aircraft intended for commercial use to have flown. The first flight took off from Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington state, and circled for about 30 minutes before landing.

The Cessna “eCaravan” can typically accommodate nine passengers with a range of around 160 km.

Electric commercial flights have hitherto been technically impossible due to the relatively low energy density of batteries, which limits the range and payload of aircraft. Redmond-based MagniX designed the light electric motor, while Seattle-based AeroTEC modified the aeroplane. Both companies say their modified Grand Caravan proves that small all-electric planes are feasible for short routes.