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Harbour Air showcases electric seaplane in Victoria Inner Harbour


Victoria's Inner Harbour was abuzz Monday with the hum of electric motors as Harbour Air showed off its state of the art electric seaplane.

The company may soon become the first in the world to offer flights in an electric-powered commercial aircraft.

Harbour Air says the electric De Havilland Beaver, or E-Beaver, is a labour of love.

"A lot of blood, sweat and tears go into it," said Harbour Air CEO and test pilot Greg McDougall.

While the plane is still in the testing phase, the aircraft is making the rounds to Harbour Air destinations such as Salt Spring and Victoria.

The milestone flights, from terminal to terminal, are designed to prove that the e-plane can meet rigorous Transport Canada rules to be certified.

"We're looking at a year [for] another version of this aircraft which will have a lighter battery pack and will be the one that will actually get certified," said McDougall.

He expects that certification to happen in about two years, after being delayed by the pandemic and supply chain issues.

"Not this aircraft, but the next version, will be the first one in the world to carry a fully paying electric passenger," said McDougall.

The aviation innovator says certification of the plane would be a win for Canada.

"We get to carry on a great tradition of innovation in aerospace," he said. "I mean, Canada has an amazing history for that."

Harbour Air says it was inspired to electrify its fleet to reduce the company's environmental footprint. The company says it's already looking into hydrogen fuel cells for its larger Otter planes.

The B.C. company says the province has been a big supporter of its efforts, and now it hopes the federal government will provide funding to keep the project going. Top Stories

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