The United States has 13500 small airports but 140 of largest carry over 97% of the air traffic. Zunum Aero (a startup backed by Boeing and Jet Blue) believes electric aircraft of varying sizes are ideally suited to this critical need, requiring little support other than a GPS flightpath and a quick recharge or swap facility on the tarmac.
Short-haul flights produce over 40% of aviation emissions. With Zunum hybrid electric aircraft (and then later all electric aircraft, Zunum believes these will be largely eliminated within twenty years. Our aircraft are “hybrid-to-electrics” that sip fuel only when they have to, will use even less over time as batteries upgrade, and will one day go completely without — so that flying will be kind to the Earth.
Zunum Aero is developing 10- to 50-seat aircraft that co-founder and CEO Ashish Kumar hopes will bring “a new golden era” of fast and affordable electric air travel.
Zunum claims that its proposed aircraft will cut airfares by 40 and 80 percent, curb carbon emissions by 80 percent and cut community noise by 75 percent, opening up the possibility of around-the-clock flights at smaller airports.
Zunum planes should be in production by the early 2020s.
They expect to have all electric planes in the 2030s, as electric battery technology improves.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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