by Peter Fairley, Spectrum
The aviation industry’s global trade group says electric airplanes are unlikely to be flying commercial routes before 2040. That pessimism from the International Air Transport Association is off by nearly two decades according to ZeroAvia, a fast-moving electric flight startup popping out of stealth mode today. For six months already, the Hollister, Calif.–based firm has been flying the world’s largest zero-emissions aircraft—the fuel cell-equipped prop-plane pictured above—and ZeroAvia vows that its powertrain design will be cutting both carbon and costs for regional flights in just 3 to 4 years.
“Right now we have an aircraft that’s six seats and 2 tons as an R&D demonstrator. Next year we’ll have a 20-seat aircraft and we’ll submit the design for [Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)] certification,” says Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia’s founder and CEO. “That’s what drives the 2022, 2023 timeline. At that point, we’re expecting to have certification and put the system into commercial service,” Miftakhov predicts.
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