Although we’re already seeing some experimental and smaller battery powered planes, Zunum Aero looks to bring a 12-seat hybrid-to-electric commercial aircraft to market by 2020. Last month, the startup company announced that it had agreed to a partnership with both Boeing and JetBlue that would make commercial electric planes a reality.
Zunum Aero Electric Planes: What To Expect
The ZA10, Zunum’s hybrid electric aircraft, will run off both batteries and a turboshaft gas engine. They’ve contracted Safran, a French aerospace company that has a history of manufacturing helicopter engines, to design and manufacture the engines. Zunum says that the ZA10 will be capable of flying over 700 miles at a maximum cruising speed of 340 mph. The company also promises that this plane will produce 80% less noise and emissions than the present commercial flights.
Zunum Aero has big plans for their commercial line of electric planes. Aside from the benefits mentioned, Zunum believes that they have the potential to revolutionize the way we look at air travel altogether. Although we haven’t received a bonafide timeframe for when the company plans to launch commercially, Zunum claims they can substantially reduce operating costs, lower fares, and speed up travel time by operating out of a network of over 13,000 regional airports.
Before we get too excited about the possibility of fast, low-cost flights, we’ll wait to see how the ZA10 comes along. The company plans for ground and flight testing in 2019.
Zunum Aero Electric Planes: Performance and Powertrain Specs
- Max Cruise Speed: 340 mph
- Range: 700+ miles
- Max Altitude: 25,000 ft
- Runway with 50ft Obstacle: 2,200 ft
- Landing Distance with 50 ft Obstacle: 2,500 ft
- Rate of Climb: 1,600 ft per minute
- Time to Climb: sea level to FL 25 in 18 minutes
- Stall Speed: 73 KIAS
- Architecture: Series hybrid with range extender
- Max Power: 1 MW variants
- Battery Mass: Under 20% of max take-off weight
- Turbogenerator: 500 kW variants
- Emissions: 0.0 to 0.3 lbs CO2/ASM
- Sideline Noise: 65 EPNdB
For more information about Zunum Aero’s electric planes, visit zunum.aero.