EVERETT — magniX, an Everett company that designs and builds electric motors to power aircraft, is adding new partners.
magniX is teaming up with Seattle’s AeroTEC and Canada’s Air Tindi to develop a hybrid-electric propulsion system for small passenger planes.
They hope to show that hybrid-electric-powered airplanes could give commuter airlines a big boost by cutting operating costs and reducing greenhouse emissions.
The collaboration is part of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration program to advance electric aircraft propulsion for commercial airline use.
magniX received a $74 million grant last year from NASA to advance electric aircraft propulsion technology for commercial airline use. The Everett firm is one of two American companies selected to support the the space agency’s Electric Powertrain Flight Demonstration program.
Separately, magniX and AeroTEC are partnering with Surf Air, a Los Angeles-based electric aviation company. They plan to develop propulsion systems for all-electric and hybrid-electric versions of new and existing Cessna Grand Caravans.
To lead the new initiative and the company, magniX recently named a new CEO.
Nuno Taborda, a former Rolls Royce executive with the British firm’s aerospace division, takes the helm Wednesday. Taborda replaces Roei Ganzarski, who stepped down in January.
magniX may be best known for its partnership with Eviation Aircraft, which has offices and engineering facilities near Arlington Municipal Airport.
Together they have designed and built a fully electric, nine-seat airplane that is expected to take its first flight this year. Known as Alice, the plane is specially designed around the magniX electric propulsion system.
Both companies, which relocated to Snohomish County in 2020, are subsidiaries of the Clermont Group, a private investment firm based in Singapore.
Together with AeroTEC and Air Tindi, magniX will take a stab at powering a De Havilland Canada Dash 7 airplane.
The aircraft will be powered by two conventional Pratt & Whitney PT6 engines and two magniX magni650 electric propulsion units.
The system is designed to reduce operating costs and noise while increasing power efficiency, magniX said.
The hybrid-electric version is anticipated to have the same flight range as its combustion-engine counterpart.
Unlike fully electric aircraft, hybrid electric aircraft won’t require charging infrastructure on the ground.
Air Tindi, a commercial operator from Yellowknife in the Canadian Northwest Territories, will provide a DHC-7 airplane.
Hybrid-electric planes could help serve vulnerable and low-income communities, said Chris Reynolds, Air Tindi’s president.
“We currently fly the Dash 7 with passengers and cargo to remote regions in Canada,” Reynolds said.
“Many of these communities are exposed to food insecurity due to high energy prices and a lack of infrastructure,” Reynolds said. “We see this partnership as an opportunity to change this dynamic, and positively impact these regions by reducing carbon dioxide emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.”
Seattle’s AeroTEC integrates electric propulsion systems into existing aircraft. It will design, modify and flight-test the demonstrator aircraft at its flight test center in Moses Lake.
In 2020, AeroTEC successfully flew a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan that was fitted with a magniX all-electric propulsion system.
The modified Dash 7 is targeted for first flight in 2025.
“This is not only a major win for AeroTEC, but a win for Washington state, which is rapidly becoming the nation’s leader in the advancement of sustainable aviation technologies,” Human said.