Zunum’s Hybrid-Electric Planes Could Disrupt Commercial Flight Industry

Zunum’s Hybrid-Electric Planes Could Disrupt Commercial Flight Industry

By Richard Adhikari

Apr 5, 2017 3:18 PM PT

Zunum Aero, a startup backed by Boeing and JetBlue, on Wednesday announced that it was developing regional hybrid-electric aircraft with backing from Boeing’s HorizonX innovation cell and JetBlue Technology Ventures.

The planes, which will have 10 to 50 seats, are scheduled for launch in the early 2020s.

With its regional aircraft, Zunum aims to democratize access to fast, affordable travel over distances of 700 miles at launch, to more than 1,000 miles by 2030.

Among the many advantages hybrid aircraft will offer, according to Zunum, are the following:

  • Decrease door-to-door travel times on busy corridors by 40 percent and cut travel time on less-trafficked corridors by 80 percent;
  • Sharply reduce operating costs, enabling ticket prices 40-80 percent below current fares;
  • Cut emissions by 80 percent, falling to zero over time as battery densities improve; and
  • Cut community noise 75 percent, enabling all-hours access to smaller airports.

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