magniX plans to flight test its 350HP and 750HP motors on commercial aircraft such as a Cessna Caravan. Image magniX

APEX Insight: All-electric commercial flights might be a reality sooner than you’d think. magniX’s CEO Roei Ganzarski spoke to APEX Media about his company’s latest milestone and its plans over the next few years.

magniX, a Washington-based startup that is developing an advanced all-electric propulsion system for commercial aviation, last week announced it successfully tested its 350 horsepower (HP) all-electric motor mounted to a Cessna light aircraft. Within a few years, the company is betting that its proprietary technology could be used to power all-electric flights of up to 1000 miles in distance.

“When initially working on this technology, we knew we would be creating incredibly powerful electric propulsion capabilities that aerospace engineers and aircraft designers could use to foster a culture of lower cost, cleaner and sustainable transport solutions,” said David Sercombe, magniX’s chief design engineer. “From design to prototype, dyno test cell success to now turning an aircraft propeller, we are one step closer to powering the future of electric aviation.”

Speaking to APEX Media, magniX’s CEO Roei Ganzarski, who previously served as chief customer officer for Boeing’s Flight Services division, said the company’s long-term goal is to supply all-electric propulsion systems for commercial aircraft, which will fly what he describes as the “middle mile” market, by 2022-2024.

This definition of middle market covers airlines that operate flights within the 100-1000 miles range, using aircraft that carry between nine to 20 passengers.

“The majority of people and goods in the distance we’d consider the middle mile are currently transported by large, inefficient jets. In fact, most flights in the US are less than 800 miles, a distance small electric planes will soon be able to cover,” Ganzarski said. Because fuel can account for 30-50% of an airline’s operating costs, Ganzarski said electric aircraft “will drastically reduce operating costs and open the door to new on-demand services in rural areas that were previously too costly to service.”

In the shorter term, Ganzarski said magniX plans to start flight testing its 350HP and 750HP motors by the second half of 2019. “We are working on both the conversion of existing commercial aircraft like a Cessna Caravan or Twin Otter, and with OEMs designing all electric aircraft from the ground up.”