Zunum Aero plans to launch hybrid electric planes by 2022


US-based startup company Zunum Aero has unveiled a plan to introduce its small hybrid electric passenger aircraft by 2022.

The hybrid electric plane is set to be designed to carry up to 12 passengers and will be able to fly up to 700mi.

It will also be equipped with two electric motors and is expected to lower the travel time and cost of journeys shorter than 1,600km, reported Reuters.

The company is yet to fix a price for its new aircraft, but expects to sell the planes for around $3m each.

Zunum Aero CEO Ashish Kumar was quoted by CNBC as saying: “By the time this aircraft is in the air in early 2020 everyone will have ridden in an electric car or ridden in an electric bus.”

Kumar further added: “Our operating costs are about 60%-90% lower than that of comparable turboprops and business jets.

"The hybrid electric plane is set to be designed to carry up to 12 passengers and will be able to fly up to 700mi."

“On shorter legs, the costs are below what a regional jet would be.”

Kumar also notes that despite being a more common phenomenon nowadays, the pace of adoption of hybrid electric and full electric vehicles by the aviation sector has been slow because of the weight and cost of lithium-ion battery packs and various other issues.

However, these problems are currently being addressed, and the aviation industry is also expected to embrace a new propulsion system that is estimated to release 80% less emissions and be quieter than previous models.

Zunum Aero also plans to develop a larger plane by the end of 2030, which can accommodate up to 50 passengers.

The plane's development has received backing from Boeing HorizonX, JetBlue Technology Ventures and the State of Washington Clean Energy Fund.