As Tesla and electric cars takeover the roads, it’s impossible not to wonder why progress in the friendly skies has been cripplingly slow. After all, fuel is one of the leading costs in air travel. As airlines attempt to bring fares to all time lows, while delivering greater passenger satisfaction, one plane may offer the perfect solution- and it could be flying imminently soon.

Boeing and JetBlue have invested heavily in Zunum Aero, a Seattle based aviation company developing a commuter plane powered by hybrid electricity. Regional jet travelers all around the world will find instant reason to celebrate. Cramped old regional jets, those featured most heavily on shorter routes are hardly tolerable at present- and certainly are not improving with age. These new planes would offer whisper quiet, advanced cabins and hopefully, some additional savings. Most significantly- they would open up new, smaller airports at an exponential scale.

The average regional jet incurs costs, mainly spurred on by fuel, amounting to over $3,500 per hour. Take the vast majority of this expense away and savings can be passed onto passengers. All substantial environmental benefits aside- this is a tremendous opportunity to revolutionize short haul air travel, opening up more airports. With jets of this size, with much lower operating costs- more point to point travel would be a near lock, bringing travel to more cities. Jets serving 12-24 passengers would greatly cut down on the “hub” model, allowing direct transit to countless regional cities.

Are you excited about the future of electric aircraft?

HT: The Guardian