Charter operator JetSuite will be the launch customer for Zunum’s 12-seat hybrid-electric aircraft, now in development, Zunum announced on Monday. JetSuite plans to add up to 100 of the new airplanes to their fleet in the early 2020s, the company said. “We arethrilled bythispartnership,” Zunum co-founder and chief technology officer Matt Knapp said in a news release. “This is just the beginning of a new era of fast, affordable and convenient travel.” Zunum, which has attracted investment from Boeing’s HorizonX team and JetBlue, says it is on track to start flight testing of its design next year.
The Seattle-based company is working to develop a hybrid twinjet that will cruise at up to 340 MPH with a range of more than 700 miles. Battery packs in the wings will be supplemented by a powerplant mounted in the rear of the aircraft. Zunum has said it also plans to develop larger airplanes based on the same technology by the mid-2020s, with a range of up to 1,000 miles. Knapp said the company has beenengaging with the government of Norway over the past year, and supports their goal to provide 100 percent of short-haul air travel via all-electric propulsion by 2040. “Legislative support for similar goals is taking shape in several other countries,” Knapp said.