Whereas we have been watching the development of hybrid cars for several years now, in the field of aviation, this is a process which is only now starting to take shape. But we could already be seeing hybrid aircraft in the skies in 2020.
Boeing recently announced that it is supporting a project which is focused on production of hybrid electric planes and setting these into operation. The Zunum Aero start-up founded in Seattle is engaged in this project. Apart from Boeing, the project is also supported by JetBlue.
Testing of aircraft which are able to transport 12 passengers over a distance of 700 miles should commence in 2019.
Technicians and engineers who collaborated on development of luxury Rolls-Royce cars and Boeing aircraft work at Zunum Aero. Due to the fact that highly experienced experts like these are involved in the project, it is estimated that hybrid electric planes could become a reality as early as 2020.
The aim of hybrid electric aircraft is to plug the gap in regional travel up to a distance of 1,000 miles. The maximum speed of planes like this will be approximately 340 miles per hour and it is anticipated that they will produce 80% less emissions and noise than current aircraft of a similar size.
Zunum Aero is by far not the only company to have taken an interest in more environmentally-friendly ways to transport passengers.
Airbus, Rolls-Royce and Siemens have joined forces and are currently also working on development of a hybrid aircraft. This should use one electric motor and 3 conventional engines running on aviation fuel. The aim is reduction of emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. The new technology should see the light of day in 2020. Airbus will be responsible for establishment of the aviation system as a whole, Rolls-Royce will manufacture the generators and the conventional engines and Siemens will provide the electric motors.
We will probably find out how everything turns out in 2020. In any case, this is a new era in the field of aviation and one which is extremely desirable!