Zunum Aero, a Boeing HorizonX and JetBlue funded company, is working on hybrid aircraft. The company is aiming to bring hybrid planes by 2020. The first aircraft in plans is expected to have a range of 700 miles at launch.
However, the company intends to increase the hybrid planes’ range to 1,000 miles by the year 2030. The idea is to build a commuter plane to cover regional flights quickly.
Why Design Hybrid Planes?
The company, Zunum Aero, is designing the plane by focusing on the US’s regional air traffic. The company is aiming to provide cheaper electric flights to its passengers. The hybrid planes will have a seating capacity for 10 to 50 passengers. Passengers will be able to commute between locations like Los Angeles and Silicon Valley making the travel a lot more efficient and convenient.
The company argues that the last 50 years have not seen the air travel getting cheaper in comparison to other modes of transportation like cars and railways. The company aims to reduce travel time between 40 percent to 80 percent, depending on the amount of air traffic and passengers commuting on it.
Zunum Aero also expects the cost to be slashed by 40 to 80 percent. The reduced cost will help the company offer cheaper air travel to its hybrid planes passengers.
The company also believes that besides saving costs, the aircraft will contribute to reducing emissions by 80 percent in comparison to the plane only burning gas. The company aims to build future electric planes running 100 percent on electricity.
The current gas powered airplanes make a lot of noise. The company also promises to cut the noise by 75 percent. The cutting in noise can drastically help improve the number of operation hours in smaller airports. This reduced noise of hybrid planes will allow bigger hybrid aircraft to land and takeoff on smaller airports.
The Zunum Aero team is led by a leader who previously headed the NASA-backed project for developing electric drives. The company has also partnered a long-term partnership with the University of Illinois for electric systems power optimization. Zunum Aero is also in talks with FAA since 2014 to develop certification standards for electric aircraft and remaining updated on the regulations.
The main idea behind this effort is to build electric airplanes which offer cheaper, environment-friendly, and quieter aircraft. Zunum Aero has given a very tight schedule for its electric planes. If the company becomes successful, it will make aviation history and introduce for the first time partly or entirely electrically driven airplanes.