Canadian seaplane firm Harbour Air completed its first point-to-point test flight for the all-electric “e” Beaver prototype last week.
The eBeaver flew over 45 miles in 24 minutes between Vancouver and Victoria – a good showing for the first such sea plane to be retrofitted with MagniX’s in-development electric propulsion system was finished in 2019, but like many other electric vehicles, Harbour Air’s plans to electrify its entire commuter fleet was hit some supply chain disruptions surrounding the COVID pandemic.
The good news is that the tech behind the project has made significant progress as the Harbour Air team waits out those supply chain issues, including a new motor and an updated, more energy-dense battery pack. This hoped-for new combination would allow for the plane to carry three passengers and a pilot. Harbour Air CEO Greg McDougall said he expects new motors – one for a ground-test vehicle and another for the second airplane – to arrive by the end of the year, allowing for an official first flight by the second quarter of next year.
McDougall is still excited to move forward in the face of these woes, though. “I’m just the guy at the end of the line here that’s getting the dates pushed, but the actual details of exactly what the issues are and exactly what things they can’t get I’m not fully cognizant of. But I do know that’s what’s slowing us down. We’re gung-ho here; we have the funding; we have the people; we have everything. We’re ready to go.”
You can watch the first-ever flight of the electric Beaver aircraft, below, then let us know what you think of the electric seaplane concept in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Harbour Air “Beaver” ePlane
SOURCE | IMAGES: FUTURE FLIGHT.