Harbour Air receives $1.6 million from BC government to advance battery planes

Nov 6 2021, 2:35 am

The provincial government has provided Harbour Air with funding to further advance research and development on electric-battery commercial aircraft.

About $1.6 million has been allocated to the company from the CleanBC Go Electric Arc initiative. This funding will be used to work on a new design of the electric motor installation and battery systems to gain efficiencies that will allow the carrying of commercial passengers. It is expected to provide full-time employment for about 21 people.

This funding builds on research and development already performed by Harbour Air, which led to the successful December 2019 test flight of the world’s only electric-battery commercial aircraft — using a retrofitted DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver seaplane.

“CleanBC is helping accelerate world-leading clean technology and innovation at Harbour Air that supports good jobs for people in our communities,” said George Heyman, BC Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in a statement.

“Once proven, the technology supports a switch from fossil fuels to advanced electric technology, and will provide a clean transportation option that reduces pollution and shows the way forward for others in the sector.”

Once the electric-battery technology for the aircraft is fully optimized and tested, Harbour Air will aim to convert its entire fleet to electrification. The company first began pursuing the possibilities of electrification in early 2019.

Harbour Air electric aircraft

Harbour Air’s test flight of an all-electric battery-powered seaplane aircraft at Vancouver International Airport on December 10, 2019. (Harbour Air)

The company has also acquired an electric-battery passenger shuttle bus to pick up and drop off passengers between their downtown Vancouver and Vancouver International Airport terminal locations.

“It is great to see the province stepping up to support innovation,” said Greg McDougall, CEO of Harbour Air CEO.

“This type of funding confirms the importance of encouraging companies in all sectors to focus on what they can be doing to look at more sustainable practices. We will use these resources to continue to develop and lead the transportation industry around the world in all-electric aviation.”

Harbour Air is amongst 18 recipients in the second round of CleanBC Go Electric ARC program’s total funding of $8.18 million towards green solutions for transportation modes.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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