The First Hybrid Electric Jet may be Ready for Commercial Flight in 2020

It is evident we all need to rethink the way we deal with transportation vehicles. Whereas fossil fuel and kerosene are still the norm today, electricity and renewable energy sources are the future. A new startup based out of Washington is planning to launch hybrid electric jets to revamp regional air travel. An interesting concept, although it remains to be seen if this company has a bright future ahead.

Hybrid Electric Jets Are Coming Soon

When thinking of air travel, the first thing that comes to mind is how every plane needs to be fueled properly. Without enough kerosene on board, it is virtually impossible to properly complete flights in a safe and secure manner. At the same time, some planes find themselves with spare kerosene while trying to land, forcing them to fly in circles to empty the tank.

To make matters even worse, prices of airfare tickets continue to mount. Zunum Aero, a Washington-based company, is looking to revamp the entire ordeal. To be more precise, the company is focusing on making regional travel routes more budget-friendly, while also promoting the use of other energy sources. In fact, they plan to launch hybrid electric jets in the near future.

This is quite an interesting take on regional air travel, as the company aims to bring down operating costs due to no fueling requirement. As a result, ticket prices could be reduced by as much as 80%, although it is possible carriers will make less steep reductions until hybrid electric jets become more commonplace. Moreover, smaller aircraft are subject to fewer TSA regulations, resulting in passengers wasting less time going through security before boarding a plane.

That is perhaps one of the only drawbacks about this venture. The first types of aircraft will be very small, with limited space for passengers and a shorter distance they can cover. That said, it is expected the first generation of hybrid electric jets can still cover 700 miles on a single charge. It is expected the first model to become commercially available in the early 2020s, although no specific dates have been provided yet. Large aircraft will not come to fruition before 2030, though.

On the upside, these hybrid electric jets have one added bonus: they are a lot quieter compared to any other aircraft. Moreover, they are far more sustainable compared to current commercial aircraft. Moreover, its hybrid electric motors can receive a recharge from different sources, making them future-proof. Additionally, the company plans to make jets rely on only electric motors once the technology allows for it.

It is evident electric cars will not be the only hybrid transportation methods moving forward. Electric-powered aviation is a relatively new industry facing technical challenges and severe regulatory requirements. Zunum feels they are ready to enter the “build phase” of their project, even though the company staffs less than a dozen employees. Boeing and JetBlue have provided financial backing for this venture, though, which gives the company a fair chance at succeeding if they play their cards right.

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