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Boeing-backed electric-hybrid airliner set to hit market in 2022

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10/06/2017 | 10:24am CEST

Boeing-backed electric- hybrid airliner set to hit market in 2022

NAN-FE-5

Airliner

New York, Oct.5, 2017 (Reuters/NAN) Seattle-area startup backed by the venture arms of Boeing Co and JetBlue Airways Corp plans to bring a small hybrid-electric airliner to market by 2022 that can dramatically reduce the traveltime and cost of trips under 1,000 miles (1,600 km).

The first of several aircraft planned by Zunum Aero would seat up to 12 passengers and be powered by two electric motors.

Electric-vehicle batteries, such as those made by Tesla Inc and Panasonic Corp, would power the motor.

A supplemental gas engine and electrical generator would be used to give the plane a range of 700 miles, Matt Knapp, co-founder and chief aeronautic engineer of the Kirkland, Washington-based company, said in an interview on Thursday.

Zunum has no commitment to Tesla or Panasonic.

A larger plane seating up to 50 passengers would follow at the end of the next decade, and the range of both would increase to about 1,000 miles as battery technology improves, Knapp said.

The planes eventually would fly solely on battery power and are being designed to fly with one pilot and to eventually be remotely piloted, he added.

Several companies, including Uber Technologies Inc and European plane maker Airbus, are working on intra-urban electric-powered self- flying cars.

Zunum does not expect to be the first to certify an electric-powered aircraft with regulators. It is aiming to fill a market for regional travel for airlines, where private jets and commercial jetliners are too costly for many to use.

“Airlines are very keen to know how to fly a shorter distance and make money on it,” Knapp said.

Recent advances in electric-vehicle and autonomous technology, along with lightweight electric motors and carbon composite airframes, would reduce the cost of flying Zunum’s aircraft to about eight cents per seat-mile.

This is about one-fifth that of a small jet or turboprop plane, Knapp said.

“We’re getting airline pricing down on a small plane and doing it for short distances,” Knapp said.

“That kind of aircraft doesn’t currently exist.”

Zunum announced plans for electric-hybrid aircraft in April, and revealed that Boeing HorizonX and JetBlue Technology Ventures had invested in its initial round of venture funding.

On Thursday it disclosed specifications and a timetable for the vehicle entering service.

Zunum says the plane would cruise at about 340 miles an hour and at altitudes of about 25,000 feet (7,600 meters) – slower and lower than jets.

The plane would cut travel time by allowing passengers to fly from thousands of regional airports, avoiding big hubs used by major airlines and airport security required for larger planes.

About 96 per cent of U.S. air traffic travels through one per cent of its airports, Zunum said.

Current battery technology can only power the plane for about 100 miles so a gas-powered engine is used to enerate electricity to power the motors for additional range. (Reuters/NAN)

UDO/TA

Editing by Udochukwu Ifionu/Tajudeen Atitebi

(c) 2017 News Agency of Nigeria Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info)., source Middle East & North African Newspapers

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BOEING COMPANY (THE) -1.36% 355.33 Delayed Quote.21.01%
PANASONIC CORPORATION -0.07% 1451 End-of-day quote.-13.37%
TESLA -1.12% 320.23 Delayed Quote.4.01%
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Financials ($)
Sales 2018 97 930 M
EBIT 2018 11 541 M
Net income 2018 9 811 M
Debt 2018 2 138 M
Yield 2018 1,87%
P/E ratio 2018 21,71
P/E ratio 2019 19,17
EV / Sales 2018 2,14x
EV / Sales 2019 2,01x
Capitalization 208 B
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 27
Average target price 398 $
Spread / Average Target 10%
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Dennis A. Muilenburg Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer
Jenette E. Ramos Senior Vice President-Supply Chain & Operations
Theodore Colbert Chief Information Officer & SVP-Data Analytics
Gregory L. Hyslop CTO, Senior VP-Engineering, Test & Technology
Kenneth M. Duberstein Director
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