Zunum Aero has selected Safran Helicopter Engines for its hybrid-electric commercial aircraft, which will be available in the early 2020s.

Safran Helicopter Engines will provide a new-generation engine turbine to drive the Zunum ZA10’s electrical generator. This turbo-generator will power Zunum’s 12-seat, hybrid-to-electric 700-mile commercial aircraft.

The Zunum aircraft is the first in the company’s family of regional, hybrid-to-electric aircraft. It will be powered by dual power sources: propulsion batteries and a Safran turboshaft from the 1,700 to 2,000 shaft horsepower (shp) Ardiden range.

Ardiden 3Z engine

The Ardiden 3Z will be used as a hybrid power source. It will be coupled with an electric generator, and the integrated turbo-generator will deliver 500kW of electric power to supplement the battery packs on key stages of flight and over long ranges.

Zunum says its new aircraft will deliver breakthrough operating costs of 8 cents per available seat mile or $250 per hour for the aircraft, which is 60-80%  lower than comparable conventional aircraft.

The ZA10 aircraft is designed to cruise and land on turbo-generator power alone, offering full redundancy.

Matt Knapp, co-founder and CTO of Zunum Aero, said Zunum’s selection of Safran’s engine “marks a significant milestone on the path to delivery of the ZA10.”

Florent Chauvancy, Safran Helicopter Engines EVP OEM Sales, added: “The Ardiden 3Z represents a very powerful complement to the ZA10 because of its exceptional performance, along with low operating and maintenance costs. This announcement marks a new step forward in demonstrating Safran’s ability to offer hybrid propulsive solutions for tomorrow’s mobility solutions.”

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