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The world’s largest electric plane just took its first flight

Electric aircraft are getting larger and larger, a positive sign for an industry historically reliant upon petroleum-based fuels.

The world’s largest electric aircraft, a modified Cessna Grand Caravan, took off from Moses Lake, Washington, the aircraft flew around for 30 minutes before returning safely without using aviation fuel. The flight is a milestone for MagniX, the company aiming to revolutionise aviation by creating sustainable engines powered with electricity rather than traditional fuel.

While the Grand Caravan is the largest electric aircraft MagniX has ever flown successfully, it was not the first as MagniX debuted a smaller electric plane in 2019 borrowed from Canada’s Harbour Air. The electric seaplane is working towards certification to ferry passengers around British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, making it one of the few passenger planes not dependent on aviation fuel for power.

The engine powering both the seaplane and Grand Caravan is the same, with the Magni500 offering the propeller aircraft 750 horsepower. It’s one of two engines being produced by MagniX, with the Magni250 offering 375 horsepower. While modifying existing aircraft to electrically-powered machines rather than those using huge amounts of fuel, MagniX is also working with new manufacturers to develop the planes of the future powered by its engines.