Seattle-based startup Zunum Aero, which counts Boeing Co. (BA) - Get Report and JetBlue airways Corp. (JBLU) - Get Report as investors, plans to bring a hybrid-electric airliner to market by 2022 in a bid to reduce time and the cost associated with air travel, Reuters reported.
Zunum's first two-motor electric model will seat up to 12 passengers. The batteries the plane uses will be electric-vehicle, such as those used by Tesla Inc. (TSLA) - Get Report and Panasonic Corp. (PCRFY) . The plane is the first of several Zunum has in the pipeline.
The first aircraft will have two electric vehicle batteries plus a supplemental gas engine and electrical generator that can offer a range of 700 miles. Zunum has plans for a larger, 50-seat plane with a range of 1,000 miles to be built in the next decade.
The single-pilot planes Zunum is working on are designed to eventually fly completely on battery power. Eventually, the company wants to create aircrafts that can be remotely piloted.
Zunum's current models cost about 8 cents per seat-mile, which is roughly one-fifth of what a typical small jet or turbo plane pays per seat-mile. The firm will reduce travel time by allowing passengers to fly from thousands of smaller regional airports, avoiding busy hubs used by large operators and the long security lines that go along with them.
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