Zunum Aero is a Seattle-based startup with an ambitious goal: to launch a hybrid-engine powered commuter plane by 2022.
The project has already attracted investment from Boeing and JetBlue Airways who – like Zunum Aero – see a gap in the market for low-cost regional airline travel.
And the company believes technology will soon develop sufficiently to allow an entirely electric-powered light plane, reports online design magazine Dezeen.
“This aircraft is going to transform how we live and work,” said founder Matt Knapp. “We’ve pushed ourselves to challenge conventional wisdom and the limits of engineering to deliver an aircraft of which we are extremely proud – one that offers efficiency and performance without compromise.”
Dezeen says the plane will be powered by two electric motors and wing-integrated battery packs, as well as a supplemental jet-fuel engine. They hope the planes will eventually be drone operated.
The 12-seater planes will have a maximum flight range of 1100km and a cruising speed of 540kph.
Zunum Aero believes by using less fuel and utilising the 13,500 small airfields located near large US cities, they can reduce the costs and travelling time for short-haul flights.
The company says it wants to “democratise access to high-speed travel”.
Read more on Dezeen here.