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Zunum picks Safran for its electric aircraft team

Zunum hybrid-electric design
Zunum Aero’s hybrid-electric design features batteries in the wings, and a gas turbine coupled with an electrical generator in the back. Quiet electric propulsors power the plane. (Zunum Aero Illustration)

Zunum Aero has selected France’s Safran Helicopter Engines to provide a new-generation engine turbine for its hybrid-to-electric airplane, due for first flight in the early 2020s.

Safran’s Ardiden 3Z engine will drive the electrical generator for Zunum’s 12-seat ZA10 aircraft, supplementing the energy stored in the plane’s batteries with peak power of 500 kilowatts during key stages of flight and over long ranges, Zunum said today in a news releaseThe aircraft will be able to cruise and land on turbo-generator power alone, offering full redundancy. 

The ZA10 is being designed for a range of 700 miles, with an eye toward enabling affordable operations at tens of thousands of underused regional-size airports around the world.

Zunum, which is headquartered in Bothell, Wash., says the aircraft should drive operating costs down to 8 cents per available seat mile, or $250 per hour. That’s said to be 60 to 80 percent lower than comparable conventional aircraft of comparable size.

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Zunum strikes deal with JetSuite for electric planes

JetSuite Zunum Aero plane
Artwork shows Zunum Aero’s hybrid-electric airplane in JetSuite’s livery. (Zunum Aero Illustration)

Zunum Aero says its first hybrid-to-electric airplanes will wear the colors of JetSuite, a private aviation company that’s a partner of JetBlue Airways.

Kirkland, Wash.-based Zunum Aero, which has financial backing from JetBlue Technology Ventures as well as Boeing HorizonX and the State of Washington Clean Energy Fund, aims to start flight tests in 2019 and deliver its first regional-class plane in 2022.

Eventually, California-based JetSuite plans to add 100 of Zunum’s planes to its fleet, the two companies said today in a news release.

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Zunum Aero builds its first electric airplane motor

Zunum 2022 airplane
An artist’s conception shows Zunum Aero’s hybrid-to-electric airplane in flight. (Zunum Photo)

Kirkland, Wash.-based Zunum Aero has reportedly started building its first prototype electric airplane motor, and plans to put an upgraded version on a test aircraft in 2019. Word of Zunum’s progress came from CEO Ashish Kumar in a Reuters interview.

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Zunum unveils electric plane design for 2022

Zunum 2022 airplane
An artist’s conception shows Zunum Aero’s hybrid-to-electric airplane in flight. (Zunum Photo)

Zunum Aero is fleshing out its plan to build an electric-powered airplane that could be delivered to airlines as early as 2022.

To gear up for testing, the Kirkland, Wash.-based startup has added a second development center in the Chicago area, said Zunum founder and CEO Ashish Kumar.

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Zunum Aero has big plans for electric planes

Zunum Aero planes
Artwork shows Zunum Aero’s hybrid electric airplanes in flight. (Zunum Aero Illustration)trans

Four years after its founding, Zunum Aero is finally going public with a plan to build hybrid electric airplanes that could revolutionize service to regional airports in the 2020s.

“This is our coming out of stealth,” said Ashish Kumar, the founder and CEO of the company, which is headquartered in Kirkland, Wash.

Zunum, whose name comes from the Mayan word for hummingbird, aims to develop 10- to 50-seat aircraft that can pave the way for what Kumar calls a “golden age of regional travel.”

To follow through on that vision, the company has patented its concept and has won backing from the Boeing Co. as well as from JetBlue Technology Ventures, a subsidiary of JetBlue Airways.

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