A Seattle-area startup backed by the venture arms of Boeing and JetBlue Airways prepares to bring a small hybrid-electric airliner to market by 2022 that can considerably lower the travel time and expense of trips under 1,000 miles (1,600 km), it stated on Thursday.
The first of a number of aircraft planned by Zunum Aero would seat as much as 12 passengers and be powered by two electric motors.
Electric-vehicle batteries, such as those constructed by Tesla and Panasonic, would power the motor. A supplemental gas engine and electric generator would be utilized to give the airplane a range of 700 miles, Matt Knapp, co-founder and chief aeronautic engineer of the Kirkland, Washington-based company, stated.
Zunum has no commitment to Tesla or Panasonic.
A bigger plane seating as much as 50 guests would follow at the end of the next decade, and the series of both would increase to about 1,000 miles as battery technology enhances, Knapp stated.
The aircrafts ultimately would fly exclusively on battery power, and are being developed to fly with one pilot and to become remotely piloted, he added.
A number of companies, consisting of Uber Inc and European planemaker Airbus, are dealing with intra-urban electric-powered self-flying cars.
Zunum does not anticipate to be the first to accredit an electric-powered aircraft with regulators. It is intending to fill a market for regional travel for airlines, where private jets and commercial jetliners are too expensive for many to use.