Zunum Aero’s hybrid-electric planes announced to start its flight starting in 2022
A hybrid-electric startup Zunum Aero, backed by the venture capital arms of Boeing Co and JetBlue Airways Corp has released the design specifications for its debut 12-seat production aircraft.
The company has announced its first major plane since emerging from stealth mode back in April with big plans to revolutionize the aviation industry and plans to deliver starting in 2022.
Zunum Aero introduced the hybrid-electric planes with a strategy to cut down today’s frustratingly long flight times and expensive ticket costs by focusing on short routes between the US’s underutilized system of small regional airports.
The small airliner is the first of several planes planned by Zunum Aero, which said it would seat up to 12 passengers and be powered by two electric motors, dramatically reducing the travel time and cost of trips.
Chief executive Ashish Kumar said it will give rise to a much more distributed air system, where smaller to mid-size planes fly to many more airports than have service today.
He further added Zunum airframe is designed to work with the runways and airports that are already in place and and they won’t even require significant fuelling or charging overhauls tanks to the hybrid design.
Zunum’s plans and timetable underscore a rush to develop small electric aircraft based on rapidly evolving battery technology and artificial intelligence systems that avoid obstacles on a road or in the sky.
The test flights are slated to begin in 2019, while Zunum also plans to open up a second development center in the Chicago area to expand its operations.
Zunum could be the first to put electric or hybrid jets in the air, but they won’t fly alone forever if other aviation projects in the works are fully realized, other companies like Boom, Airbus even NASA are working to introduce cheaper supersonic flight routes.