MagniX and Eviation Aircraft, two businesses working to get the nascent electric airplane industry off the ground, announced a partnership Monday under which Eviation will outfit one of the planes it’s developing with an electric propulsion system made by MagniX.
The partnership, which was fittingly unveiled on Earth Day, could ultimately lead to some passengers taking short-distance flights aboard planes powered by electricity, rather than jet fuel. Aircraft with electric motors would add less total pollution to the environment than jet-propelled planes.
Eviation Aircraft, headquartered in Israel, says it will equip a new line of electric aircraft it’s developing with Redmond, WA-based MagniX’s propulsion systems. These systems encompass motors and power electronics, like inverters that change direct current to alternating current.
The companies’ announcement did not contain specific financial terms of the agreement.
Eviation’s plane, which it calls Alice, can fit nine passengers and is designed to fly up to 650 miles at a time, the company says. It plans to sell at least two different Alice models, one of which will be equipped with MagniX’s 375-horsepower electric motor. (MagniX also makes a 750-horsepower motor, which Harbour Air, a British Columbia-based airline, plans to install in some of its planes.)
MagniX and Eviation say they are asking regulators to certify the Alice model powered by MagniX’s propulsion systems by 2021, and planning to launch commercial sales of the plane the following year.
Eviation says it’s working with MagniX and other partners to expand the options passengers have for “middle mile” transit, meaning trips of 1,000 miles or fewer.
“In 2017, Americans spent $1 trillion traveling distances between 50 and 650 miles,” Omer Bar-Yohay, Eviation’s CEO, says in a prepared statement. “Our goal is to undercut the cost of commuting by making middle mile trips cheaper, faster and cleaner. Together with MagniX we’re providing an economically and environmentally sustainable mobility solution.”
Eviation is also developing a line of autonomous aerial vehicles, which it calls Orca.