Hybrid electric cars are changing the auto industry and by 2020 Kirkland-based Zunum Aero plans to have hybrid electric airplanes taking off for regional air service. Utilizing the existing network of smaller community airports could reduce travel time and shift short-haul travel from metro airports, along with the environmental gains of lower emissions and noise. Improvements in battery storage and software that calculates the needs for engine power has allowed for a revolutionary approach to powering aircraft. Anticipated benefits include lower operating costs and lower fares, cutting carbon emissions by 80%, reducing noise in the surrounding communities by 75% and returning cost-effective regional air travel to smaller communities. Partnering with Boeing and JetBlue Technology Ventures, Zunum expects to be manufacturing their first planes by 2020. Read more in the Puget Sound Business Journal and Geekwire.
Washington State has been a leader in aerospace technology for more than a century. Blend that expertise with the advances that Washington companies are making in clean technology, battery storage, advanced manufacturing and new materials, and software development across industry sectors, and you have the potential for making huge changes in the economics of air travel.
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