Harbour Air recently announced plans to convert its fleet of over 30 seaplanes to electric power with help from motor builder, MagniX. Each of the fleet’s current ICE engines will be replaced with a Magni500 electric motor packing an astonishing 750 (seven-hundred and fifty) HP!

“Harbour Air first demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by becoming the first fully carbon-neutral airline in North America in 2007 (through the purchase of carbon offsets),” explains Greg McDougall, founder and CEO of Harbour Air. “Through our commitment to making a positive impact on people’s lives, the communities where we operate and the environment, we are once again pushing the boundaries of aviation by becoming the first aircraft to be powered by electric propulsion. We are excited to bring commercial electric aviation to the Pacific Northwest, turning our seaplanes into ePlanes.”

Harbour Air operates the largest all-seaplane fleet in North America. They run almost 30,000 on 12 routes in the Pacific Northwest from cities like Seattle, Vancouver, and Victoria and smaller destinations– so this move definitely isn’t “nothing”.

“In 2018, 75 percent of worldwide airline flights were 1,000 miles or less in range,” pointed out MagniX CEO, Roei Ganzarski. “With MagniX’s new propulsion systems, coupled with emerging battery capabilities, we see tremendous potential for electric aviation to transform this heavily trafficked ‘middle mile’ range.”

Converting all of Harbour Air’s “seaplanes into ePlanes” is expected to take a while, but I think it’s an important commitment and a nod towards the fact that even aviation has an electric future. What do you guys think of this? Is Harbour being smart by insulating itself against the volatility of oil prices or just going after a cynical PR grab? Let us know!

 

Source | Images: Harbour Air, via Electrek.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.

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