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Electric Cessna takes flight

An all-electric Cessna Grand Caravan, developed by electric propulsion company magniX, has completed its first test flight. 

The “eCaravan,” which is reputedly the largest electric commercial plane, is powered by a 560kW magni500 electric motor and has a range of around 160km.

The 30-minute flight at the AeroTEC test centre in Washington was a key step in the certification of the propulsion system, which is designed for both clean-sheet and retrofit applications. 

Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX, said: “This first flight of the eCaravan is yet another step on the road to operating these middle-mile aircraft at a fraction of the cost, with zero emissions.”

Electric power for aircraft refueller

Transport and logistics company Gaussin and energy multinational Total are working together to develop the first fully electric aircraft refuelling vehicle. 

A prototype, destined for the Airbus site in Toulouse, is due to be delivered at the end 2020.

Details are few but it will be capable of towing two 27-tonne fuel bowsers, granting a total load of some 75,000 litres of Jet A commercial aviation fuel – or enough to refuel three A320s.

The collaboration will allow Gaussin to expand its electric vehicle range while drawing on the industrial battery knowledge of Saft, a subsidiary of Total.  Saft will be responsible for developing and building the lithium-ion batteries used and will also provide them for the future fleet of refuelling vehicles.

Total aims to become carbon neutral by 2050 and the new vehicle, called the ART Full Elec (Aircraft Refueller Transporter), will pave the way for a line-up of sustainable aviation-dedicated vehicles.