New York - Much as automakers are hitting the accelerator on electric cars, an aerospace venture backed by Boeing said Thursday it will introduce a hybrid electric plane for delivery in 2022.
Zunum Aero, a Seattle startup that counts both Boeing and air carrier JetBlue as investors, released details about an aircraft that could carry 12 passengers up to 1 126 kilometres.
The plane aims to address a gap in regional travel of up to 1 609 kilometres, a segment for which there are few options, high costs and "door-to-door travel times haven't improved in decades," Zunum Aero said in a news release.
The technology could let planes skip big regional airports such as Washington and Boston and instead travel from Beverly, Massachusetts to College Park, Maryland at a lower fare.
"We believe that the regional transportation industry is ripe for disruption and we're excited to support Zunum and its efforts to help introduce a new era of aviation," said Bonny Simi, president of JetBlue Technology Ventures.
Maximum cruise speed on the vehicle will be 547 kilometres per hour and it will emit 80% fewer emissions and noise, the company said.
The company expects to begin test flights in 2019. Zunum Aero has hired technologists who have worked on leading-edge vehicles for Boeing and Rolls-Royce.
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