The current trend of battery powered vehicles has not only disrupted the car manufacturing industry but has had a considerable impact on the aerospace domain as well. As vehicle manufacturers race to deploy electric-powered systems on the road, Zunum Aero, a startup backed by Boeing Co. announced its plan to kickstart a hybrid-electric aircraft in commercial services over the forthcoming five years.
Interestingly, consumer passenger flights could be the next big airliners after automobile cars that will be transformed by electric powertrains. The latest battery technology can only power the plane for over 100 miles, however, a gas-powered engine would be used to generate electricity that can power the motors further. Moreover, recent technological advances in battery-powered systems, carbon composite airframes, and lightweight electric motors will help Zunum cut down aircraft costs to about 8 cents per seat-mile and about one-fifth when compared to small jet planes.
In other news, Boeing plans to acquire a company that specializes in electric & autonomous flights in order to develop and speed up its project on electric aircrafts.
Zunum Aero’s aircraft would encompass 12 passenger seats and will be powered by two electric motors, the deployment of which has had the experts hoping for fast and affordable electric air travel within 1000 miles (1600 km). The plane is likely to cruise at about 340 miles per hour at an altitude of close to 25,000 feet. The company mainly aims to fill the market gap that will cut down high travel costs & time and plans to make this happen at thousands of airports that are already in place.
Zunum is eventually planning to fly the battery-powered planes without the intrusion of a pilot. The company first announced its plans of commercializing hybrid-electric aircrafts in the month of April and has now come up with specifications and a timetable for their deployment.