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JetBlue and Boeing Are Betting Big On Electric Jet Startup 'Zunem Aero' (theverge.com) 163

A new startup called Zunum Aero is aiming to reinvent how users travel short distances, such as from San Francisco to Los Angeles. "The Kirkland, Washington-based company [...] plans to build a fleet of hybrid electric jets to sell to major carriers for service on densely traveled regional routes like San Francisco to Los Angeles or Boston to Washington, DC, "reports The Verge. Two aviation giants, Boeing and JetBlue, are reportedly backing the startup. From the report: Lower operating costs (i.e., no fueling) will allow carriers to reduce fares by 40 to 80 percent, they predict. And by flying a smaller aircraft that would be subject to fewer TSA regulations, Zunum claims it will take less time to go through security before boarding one of its planes. Zunum aims to build several models of hybrid-electric propulsion jets. At launch, its first class of aircraft will be tiny, in the 10-15 foot range, with a 10-passenger capacity and a range of up to 700 miles on a single charge. (Think San Francisco to Portland or Atlanta to DC.) Those planes can be expected to roll off the assembly line by the early 2020s, the company's CEO Ashish Kumar told The Verge. By the 2030s, as electric battery technology improves, Zunum hopes to build larger aircraft that can carry up to 50 passengers and travel up to 1,000 miles on a single charge. (Think Seattle to LA or Boston to Jacksonville, Florida.) Zunum's aircraft will feature hybrid electric motors with the capacity to accept recharging power from a variety of sources. Because airplanes are typically kept in service for up to 30 years, Kumar says its important for Zunum's aircraft to be future proof. That means designing them to be compatible with future battery designs and range-extending generators, with an eye toward ultimately switching from hybrid propulsion to fully electric motors once the technology catches up.
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JetBlue and Boeing Are Betting Big On Electric Jet Startup 'Zunem Aero'

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  • by Justin Fliss ( 4701259 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2017 @08:49PM (#54182711)
    yeah right
    • by mattack2 ( 1165421 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2017 @09:46PM (#54182935)

      ...except the fact that airline fares are way cheaper, adjusted for inflation, than they used to be...

      • ...except the fact that airline fares are way cheaper, adjusted for inflation, than they used to be...

        No, they are not. The airline industry has been furiously trying to spin the facts on this, but it is not cheaper to fly, adjusted for inflation, than it used to be, and certainly not since deregulation. Even the charts that show a drop since 1995 fail to take into account that many of the services involved in air travel have now been "unbundled". "Oh, you want to bring a suitcase on your trip? That wil

        • by es330td ( 964170 )
          You must not live where Southwest flies. I have not paid a bag fee in years and the amenities I get are the same I have been getting for twenty years. Not exciting, to be sure, but no worse either.
          • You must not live where Southwest flies.

            I fly Southwest all the time. They're the only airline that doesn't charge a baggage fee. I'm talking about airline prices as an industry.

            If you factor in the smaller markets, where air prices have gone up 200-300% since deregulation, the cost of flying doesn't just surpass the rate of inflation, it practically laps it.

        • As the AC noted, that article makes a lot of dubious assumptions. Complaining about paying extra when you call to book (how many people do that?) is silly. Adding ticket change costs only makes sense if a lot of people actually do that. When you look at what the average flier does, most of that article's arguments become irrelevant. He only looks at one route, so we don't know how representative that is. Lastly, he's comparing the cheapest flight in 1975 to one specific day in 2014. That's certainly not a v
    • fuel costs are approximately 40-50% of the cost of flying.

      This is where the savings come from. And yes, prices have been dropping, All you need to do is look at a chart.
      • This is where the savings come from. And yes, prices have been dropping, All you need to do is look at a chart.

        Prices have not been dropping. Fares have been dropping because many of the necessary services (baggage, for example) have been "unbundled" from the price of flying.

        If you compare, apples to apples, the price of flying has outpaced the rate of inflation since 1974.

        The government's data come from the reliable Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), but suffer from outdated methodology that ignor

        • Where do you live?

          The flight routes I fly cost less then half and down to a tenth of the price they used to cost 30 years ago.

          300â from Frankfurt to New York, KFC .... would have costed 1000â 1980 ...

          A flight to BBK from FRA is â370, it used to be â1500. Think about Tokyo or any destination in Australia.

          Short range flights like Berlin to London or Paris, or from Frankfurt are ABSURD cheap.

          • A flight to BBK from FRA is â370, it used to be â1500.

            You're talking about worldwide, where the airline industry is still regulated. I'm talking about the US.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 05, 2017 @08:57PM (#54182737)

    It's a problem the snake oil salesman known as Ashish Kumar is willfully ignoring.

    Yes, batteries will get better, but 40 times better ? That remains to be seen, and there is NO guarantee
    it will ever happen.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density#Energy_densities_of_common_energy_storage_materials

    • One thing that is going to happen is the ceasing of the use of fossil fuels. Even the jurisdictions making their fortunes (such as there are to be found these days) know it, which is why the smarter petro-states have set up large sovereign wealth funds.

      One way or the other, the future won't be powered with fossil fuels. It's really that simple. So we're going to have to produce energy storage systems capable of replacing oil, and really, unless you know of some physical constraint, what we're talking about

      • WTF? The energy storage mass density of materials is a hard physical barrier. You can compute it from the of a given molecule or crystaline structure from first principles using quantum mechanics and fundamental constants of the universe.
        • by Agripa ( 139780 )

          WTF? The energy storage mass density of materials is a hard physical barrier. You can compute it from the of a given molecule or crystaline structure from first principles using quantum mechanics and fundamental constants of the universe.

          There is some improvement to be had through physical construction of the battery but not a factor of 40.

      • [snipped airplane powered by batteries theory] It's really that simple.

        Everything is simple to simple people.

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        One way or the other, the future won't be powered with fossil fuels.

        I am going slap a big "we'll see" sticker on that. Yes ultimately in the distant future the fossil fuel era logically must draw to a close because we logically must run out of something we consume at a faster rate than is produced.

        That said I suspect the time horizons are a lot longer than you think. I mean fracking and shale oil for example despite Obama's best efforts pretty much ended the recession. The more I did into it, the stronger my conclusion is that North Dakota not Washington got the economy

      • by Agripa ( 139780 )

        The future will not be powered by fossil fuels but that does not mean synthetic or biological fuels will not be produced for the applications which require them like aircraft.

    • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Thursday April 06, 2017 @03:10AM (#54183847)

      It's a problem the snake oil salesman known as Ashish Kumar is willfully ignoring.

      Yes, batteries will get better, but 40 times better ? That remains to be seen, and there is NO guarantee

      What the AC is willfully ignoring here is that the efficiency of the system is what matters, not energy density. If you have a chemical system that 10 times the energy density but only 10% the efficiency and the electrical system would have an equal amount of power. It's more complex than such a simple example but the fact remains it's the system that matters, not the energy storage medium.

      • by jabuzz ( 182671 )

        He is also ignoring the fact that various "metal"-air batteries eg. Al,Zn or Li have energy densities that are comparable to fossil fuels. So gasoline is ~13 kWh/kg and a Li air battery is ~12kWh/kg. Of course neither actually achieve this but a metal air battery should be able to deliver comparable useful power to fossil fuels on a mass for mass basis.

        • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

          Right but fossil fuels get much lighter as you consume them vent the combustion products externally. Batteries get only very slightly lighter, like you lab quality equipment to measure. That matters for an aircraft, it matters a lot!

          • That means range might not be as great, it doesn't mean the technology is infeasible, it means to start with it would be limited to medium range flights.

      • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday April 06, 2017 @12:14PM (#54185701)
        What you're willfully ignoring here is that the efficiency is not all that matters. A plane has a certain payload capacity, and the fuel/battery load counts against that. Your 10x greater efficiency (actually it's closer to 2x) does no good if the energy density of batteries is so low that you now have zero remaining payload for passengers and cargo. And you get most of the 2x worse efficiency back by the fuel being burned (and thus no longer having to carry its weight) throughout the flight.

        Anyhow, TFA describes hybrid electric jets. All the energy the electric motors use will come from burning fuel. So the overall system-wide efficiency of the electric motor will by definition always be worse than using the fuel for thrust. At least under nominal conditions. That's the catch which makes hybrid-electric jet engines viable - you can't always operate the engines at nominal (highest efficiency) thrust. If you tune the engines for optimal efficiency at cruise, they end up being inefficient at low thrust. So the idea is to run the engines at cruise power a bit longer to charge some batteries, then you turn the engines off and use an electric motor powered by the batteries to provide the minimal thrust needed during descent.

        TFA openly admits the technology is not yet there to make a fully electric jet viable. Which was AC's point.
        • I've always wondered about this point. I'm clearly not an aviation engineer. But many car manufacturers work on "displacement on demand" systems to turn off some cylinders. Because of the need for takeoffs, jets tend to be massively over-powered in flight. It always seemed that a third, inefficient, engine could be added for use only in takeoffs so that the main engines could be much smaller. There are probably a million practical challenges with this but I've never seen much discussion on it. That th
        • What you're willfully ignoring here is that the efficiency is not all that matters.

          Not at all.

          A plane has a certain payload capacity, and the fuel/battery load counts against that. Your 10x greater efficiency (actually it's closer to 2x) does no good if the energy density of batteries is so low that you now have zero remaining payload for passengers and cargo. And you get most of the 2x worse efficiency back by the fuel being burned (and thus no longer having to carry its weight) throughout the flight.

          "It's more complex than such a simple example but the fact remains it's the system that matters, not the energy storage medium," sums it up pretty good, no?

          TFA openly admits the technology is not yet there to make a fully electric jet viable. Which was AC's point.

          Actually, the AC's point was that we may never make a fully electric jet viable due to power density.

    • by Pascoea ( 968200 )
      I understand energy density, but that isn't the only variable in the equation. How efficiently you use that energy comes in to play as well. I don't claim to be an expert (very far from it, so I'd love for someone with actual knowledge chime in) but electric motors are significantly more efficient [quora.com] than gas engines. (Couldn't find any good numbers on jet engines, and I only assume the dude in the article knows what he's talking about)
  • Electric jet? (Score:5, Informative)

    by manu0601 ( 2221348 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2017 @08:58PM (#54182741)
    How can a jet be electric?
    • and not require refueling? Truly a mystery.
      • by baker_tony ( 621742 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2017 @09:07PM (#54182779) Homepage

        Pff, they don't require refueling because they have a wind turbine on top, charges itself as it flies. Dah.

        • Re:Electric jet? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Thursday April 06, 2017 @03:51AM (#54183907) Homepage Journal

          Actually passenger jets do have wind turbines! Many have an emergency turbine that can be deployed if the electrical generator connected to one of the engines fails for some reason. It folds out of the body and generates enough power to run essential systems like flight, navigation and control surfaces.

          • Yes I believe it's called the "air ram" but its only deployed in emergencies and actually doesn't work all that well. It will power cockpit equipment but as you get closer to landing there isn't enough power to run everything. There are many pilot stories out there of having to use the air ram in engine failure, trying to glide to an airport, and having to pick which instruments are their favorite as they get closer and closer due to insufficient power.
            • Close they call it the RAT (ram-air turbine). And it works for what it's designed for: power for critical systems in an in-flight emergency.

              They usually prefer to run the APU in those situations, if they can. But deploying the RAT is your only option when you lose all of the engines and the APU is off.

      • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

        and not require refueling

        Hamsters, lots and lots of hamsters.

      • I'm sure the not requiring refueling means they intend to replace batteries when it lands rather than recharge them.

        Battery Pack on ground is charged before flight touches down. When plane lands- old battery taken out- new battery put in- plane takes off and old battery is recharged.

        Now, some might say that is STILL refueling, but theoretically it could probably be done a lot quicker than sticking a hose in the plane and filling up the tanks that way.

    • You don't have to burn fuel to have a jet - you just need something to spin a compressor. Gas turbines just happen to be an easy way to do this with impressive power to weight and power to volume density. I know there is lots of research into electric compressors, but I didn't realize they were getting that competitive; I've been out of that industry for a while.

      • I know there is lots of research into electric compressors, but I didn't realize they were getting that competitive

        It could be that, or alternatively, a clueless journalist incorrectly used the term "jet". The picture in TFA suggests the later explanation.

        • It actually sounds more like you have no clue what "jet propulsion" means. The render in the article, while admittedly cartoonish, does actually seem to represent the concept of an e-fan, i.e. an electrically driven compressor fan.
        • Google"rc edf" for numerous examples. Can it scale up? It's worth a try.

    • How can a jet be electric? The same way Greenpeace sails an "electric" ship.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      Greenpeace likes to talk about how they sail this "green" ship but it's got a 400 horsepower diesel engine in it. Sure, it's got sails, but sails won't produce electricity for their communication and navigation, or heat for the passengers and crew. If they were serious about being "green" they'd have had a ship made in the style of the old windjammers.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      Even a windja

      • So you're saying that the railroad industry has been greenwashing ever since the early 20th century with the term "diesel-electric locomotive"?

    • How can a jet be electric?

      A jet can be fully electric if it uses the atmosphere from the intake to create a combustible fuel and then combusts it. This would require a lot of energy but it is possible since our atmosphere can be broken down into combustible components.

      However, when this article refers to a jet, they are referring to the class of airplanes known as business jets [wikipedia.org] and their variation on business jets is electric.

      • A jet can be fully electric if it uses the atmosphere from the intake to create a combustible fuel and then combusts it. This would require a lot of energy but it is possible since our atmosphere can be broken down into combustible components.

        Please explain this miracle of thermodynamics-defying chemistry in more detail. I would really like to have free energy.

        • I have no idea how feasible what Gravis Zero suggested is. But there's nothing about it that defies thermodynamics, since it posits using electrical power to create the combustible fuel. It doesn't require a miracle just, as GZ said, a lot of energy.
          • I wasn't sure what he was proposing, so that's why I asked. If he meant to create combustible fuels from the atmosphere by inputting energy and then just using said fuel for propulsion, then that's at least not apriori not thermodynamically impossible, assuming that the produced fuel isn't used to generate more energy than was put in. What makes it silly, however, is the inefficiency of this idea.
            • If he meant to create combustible fuels from the atmosphere by inputting energy and then just using said fuel for propulsion, then that's at least not apriori not thermodynamically impossible

              Which is why I wrote it, dummy! -_-

              What makes it silly, however, is the inefficiency of this idea.

              The question posed was, "[h]ow can a jet be electric?", not what's efficient and realistic model for air transport. Stop assuming!

              • Which is why I wrote it, dummy! -_-

                What confused me is your obvious lack of understanding of jet propulsion. See below.

                The question posed was, "[h]ow can a jet be electric?", not what's efficient and realistic model for air transport. Stop assuming!

                Your response makes little sense to answer the question, hence the confusion. It's like you think "jet propulsion" must require combustion. It doesn't. In fact, in modern jet engines, the vast majority of their thrust (not power) doesn't come from combusted exhaust gas. To make a electric jet engine, all you have to do is cut out the turbine engine core and replace with a powerful electric motor. What you are left with is a

    • by LordHighExecutioner ( 4245243 ) on Thursday April 06, 2017 @02:49AM (#54183787)
      > How can a jet be electric?

      It is easier than you think. Just install batteries from Samsung, and ignite.
    • How can a jet be electric?

      Ion thrusters come to mind. Formally they're rockets as they carry their reaction mass with them, but they could work with air molecules. Problem is they don't have useable thrust (25–250 mN).

  • "Lower operating costs (i.e., no fueling)..."

    Its gotta be perpetual motion. Just free electricity! Let me on that plane... Not!

  • An electric jet? That's funny. Kind of like a three wheeled bicycle.
    • by aXis100 ( 690904 )

      Tell that to people that make jet boats.

      Sure, there's no combustion gasses coming out the back and the compressor is electrically driven, but that just means it's an "electric ducted fan" and not a "gas turbine". Both of them still operate on the principles of jet propulsion.

  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2017 @09:14PM (#54182797)
    While it might work during cruise and landing, will the extra fuel need for takeoff and possibly to support flight at cruise altitude, and thus extra fuel burn and the need to carry such fuel, outweigh the benefits in reduced fuel consumption. AC manufacturers go to great lengths to save a pound given the cost savings over a plane's lifetime, this seems to be a bit of a pipe dream right now. For example, they pulled airphones once usage dropped to the point the companies supplying the tech and paying a fee to put it on airplanes lost money, just as pulling in seat video makes sense with the addition of wifi and the increase number of passengers carrying tables and cell phones made it more economical to provide wifi access to the in seat features that way. they were carrying the weight anyway in passenger luggage, why not get rid f the in seat weight to save money. Add in the potential for a catastrophic fire while flying due to a battery problem and you have some reall hurdles to overcome, I can see Boeing and JetBlue putting some money into it to get access to the technology if it pans out, just as investing in experimenting with alternate fuel sources makes sense.
    • by Pulzar ( 81031 )

      While it might work during cruise and landing, will the extra fuel need for takeoff and possibly to support flight at cruise altitude, and thus extra fuel burn and the need to carry such fuel, outweigh the benefits in reduced fuel consumption.

      You can't really say that without running the math on jet fuel costs vs. recharging batteries. We don't know what weight deltas we're talking about, what kind of operational costs we're talking about on short flights (re: not having to handle fuel, not having to adjust

      • which is presumably what these guys did

        They are also decidedly tight-lipped about this on their own website, which contains nothing but wishy-washy rhetoric, much in the vein of TFA and this summary. No hard data, no technical details, not even a clarification of what terms like "hybrid" mean. It might be completely legit, but so far this gives off the distinct smell of venture bullshit - seems to fall into the same category of feel-good investment blackholes projects like AirCarbon and Solar Roadways.

        • by Pulzar ( 81031 )

          They are also decidedly tight-lipped about this on their own website, which contains nothing but wishy-washy rhetoric, much in the vein of TFA and this summary. No hard data, no technical details, not even a clarification of what terms like "hybrid" mean.

          I think it's safe to say that they didn't get Boeing and JetBlue to invest based on the information on the web site... Now, maybe it was a con based on a bunch of fake data, or a really good marketing presentation... or they have some real ideas. Who knows

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      I imagine a lot depends on the future cost of aviation fuel. Once you have the physical capacity to build a hybrid jet (which I assume operates like a regular jet on take off when you need lots of power) it's simply a question of whether numbers work out at the expected fuel price.

      It's just hard to imagine saving enough to make it worth your while at current prices. Turboprops are slow, but they're plenty fast for three or four hundred mile hops, and they're pretty fuel efficient.

      These guys must have a ve

    • While it might work during cruise and landing, will the extra fuel need for takeoff and possibly to support flight at cruise altitude, and thus extra fuel burn and the need to carry such fuel, outweigh the benefits in reduced fuel consumption.

      Depends on how you design it. As a back of a napkin exercise I can think of some ideas worth exploring, one of which is track launch. ie the plane launches from a powered rail which gives it the energy required to take off, so it only needs to carry energy to cruise (landing requires require no energy as with the case of the space shuttle). I'd even experiment with keeping the plane connected to the ground via electrical cable somehow for the first 200-300m since that is when most power is required.
      No idea

  • by knorthern knight ( 513660 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2017 @10:43PM (#54183125)

    Using direct jet power to taxi at 10 mph from the gate to the runway, and visa versa, is damn inefficient, fuelwise. One commonly-quoted factoid is that a Concorde would use more fuel taxiing from gate to runway, than a standard airliner would use in an entire short-haul European flight. Even ordinary jetliners waste a lot of fuel in the process.

    Electric motors connected to the wheels might be a more economical way to move the the plane around on the ground. We'd have to compare fuel saved taxi-ing, versus weight of batteries+electrical gear. The electrical motor gearing would have to be disengaged when the plane comes in for landing... but wait a minute... could the plane use re-generative braking to partially recharge its batteries whilst landing?

    There are 2 possible implementations of electrical taxi-ing

    1) A battery. That would be the heavier solution.

    2) An induction-powered motor drawing power from cables just beneath the runway surface. That would eliminate the need for batteries.

    • by TheSync ( 5291 ) on Thursday April 06, 2017 @01:57AM (#54183659) Journal

      Or a robotic electric tug that can autonomously find and attach to the airplane, then be controlled wirelessly by the pilot, then be released from the plane and autonomously (and safely) leave the runway and return for a charge.

      • Or a robotic electric tug that can autonomously find and attach to the airplane, then be controlled wirelessly by the pilot, then be released from the plane and autonomously (and safely) leave the runway and return for a charge.

        Why would the pilot need to control it? All airport movements are controlled by the tower, a robotic tug/launch platform would simply be controlled by the same people.

    • The Concorde was extremely wasteful. Just ran the numbers on this using a modern plane. On a *very* short flight from London Gatwick to Amsterdam (route length just 240nm, about 40 minutes flight time) using an Airbus A319 burns around 2050 kg of fuel. Assuming a 20-minute taxi (15 minutes out, 5 minutes in, two-engine taxi both ways) consumes 200 kg. That's pretty close to the worst case and even so it's only about 10%. On the other hand, on aircraft of this size, the common rule of thumb of extra weight v
    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      If the costs were that high, petrol or electric tow vehicles would meet planes at the end of the runway already today. I am not saying you are wrong about the inefficiencies, but there is more to this story somehow.

      • They already have the petrol-powered tugs that push the planes back from the gate. No reason they couldn't use those to tow the entire distance to/from the runway if it really made any sense. Although it may be a bit more complicated. Usually jets on an active taxiway are required to leave the engines on and idling. Apparently this burns an insane amount of fuel. Unfortunately to get a take-off slot you have to push back. When going to commonly congested airports, pilots will choose to push back, taxi
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      The electric drive idea has been proposed and prototyped. But it operates off APU/engine generator power. APUs are more fuel efficient than main engines. And main engine driven generators can produce appreciable levels of power even at idle or reduced thrust settings. Also, these drive systems can push the plane backwards, eliminating the need for a pushback from a tug. Although a few crazy pilots have been known to push back from a gate using reverse thrust.

      Two things have prevented widespread adoption of

    • 1) A battery. That would be the heavier solution.

      What if the battery and the wheels stay on the runway? ie the plane only has landing wheels, takeoff is handled by runway infrastructure?

      2) An induction-powered motor drawing power from cables just beneath the runway surface. That would eliminate the need for batteries.

      Doesn't even need to be induction, using the launch system described above you simply move the responsibility of taking off from the plane to the runway.

  • by GGardner ( 97375 ) on Wednesday April 05, 2017 @10:55PM (#54183169)
    A Cessna 172 is 27 feet long, and carries 4 people, including one or two pilots. This thing claims to be 10 to 15 feet long, and carry 10 passengers + a pilot or two? How's that gonna work?
    • Two possibilities; either that's wingspan, not overall length, or alternatively, notice they never mentioned how tall the plane is

    • Consider a Boeing 777 as long as the 172. More of the fuselage is used for seating. Trim problems all over the place of course.

    • A Cessna 172 is 27 feet long, and carries 4 people, including one or two pilots. This thing claims to be 10 to 15 feet long, and carry 10 passengers + a pilot or two? How's that gonna work?

      maybe they mean 10 dead people shrink wrapped together

  • No Prototype (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <bruce@perens.com> on Thursday April 06, 2017 @01:57AM (#54183661) Homepage Journal

    The important thing to know about this company is that there is no prototype yet. The news is that they are "Working with FAA", but given that they don't actually have an airplane,

    even one worthy of the "Experimental" designation, there hardly seems a point in working with the FAA.

    We'll get electric aircraft eventually. I suspect not from these folks, and we might have to wait a bit longer for the battery technology.

  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Thursday April 06, 2017 @03:07AM (#54183837) Homepage

    I found an article with a better description of the proposed technology.

    https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/this-startup-is-building-an-electric-airplane [greentechmedia.com]

    The aircraft will be a battery-first series hybrid, or an electric-powered aircraft with a range extender -- sort of like General Motors' Chevy Volt. All of the propulsion will come from the electric motor, said Kumar, and if there's enough battery power to run the entire flight, the jet fuel won't need to kick in. The company will also offer all-electric options.

  • That sounds like it's going to be discontinued before it ever takes off! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
  • Does COSTCO have anything to do with it?
    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Sort of. The first Costco store was (still is) in the city of Kirkland. Which is where they go their store brand name.

  • Driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles is about a 4-5 hour drive. And when you arrive you will have a car to navigate Southern California (aka "The Land of the Automobile"). If you were to fly, you would either take public transportation, or be driven to the airport 2+ hours before your flight, which likely leaves at 5:30 AM, (at which point, you abandon your ground transport). Then you have to put up with massive crowds going through the TSA nightmare, take off your shoes and belt...awkwardly put them b

  • San Francisco to Portland is 635 miles as the crow flies. A plane with a range of 700 miles could not serve this route. The FAA requires that an airplane have enough fuel to get to its primary destination, then from there to the nearest diversion field (in case the primary is unavailable), and still have 45 minutes of cruising capability so it can circle the field waiting for a landing slot.

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