Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) plans to develop an electric short-haul commercial aircraft.

The company says future electric-powered aircraft will reduce emissions and noise and provide significant savings in fuel costs.

Citing its experience with electric propulsion for small, unmanned aircraft systems, IAI says that it “has begun working on the development of green energy solutions for the future development of electrically powered aircraft.”

In response to a request for clarification, an IAI spokesperson says, “We have our own centers of excellence for the development and integration of an air-vehicle electric propulsion system. Based on these capabilities we are planning to develop an electric-powered aircraft for short-range commercial transportation use.”

IAI says it has been investing heavily in R&D on electric power systems, including motors, batteries and energy sources. Together with its in-house developments, the company says it “is also considering potential collaborations with a startup company.” This could be a reference to Israel’s Eviation Aircraft, which plans to fly a full-scale prototype of its Alice nine-passenger all-electric regional aircraft by early 2019. But there are other startups in the field, including U.S. companies Zunum Aero and Wright Electric.

“IAI’s extensive experience allows us to develop a solution kit for building the world’s most-efficient electrical aircraft,” according to a statement from Moshe Medina, vice president of IAI Engineering and Development Group. “We are nearing the completion of the characterization and conceptual design phase and will focus on the areas in which we see the strongest business potential.”

Battery capability currently limits electric power to light aircraft such as Bye Aerospace’s Sun Flyer. But as technology improves, IAI says it expects the market to include short-range passenger aircraft and other configurations.

“Electric airplanes are greener, quieter, reliable and more economical,” Medina says. IAI designed and builds the G280 business jet for Gulfstream. Previously it produced the G150, Astra and Westwind business jets as well as the IAI-designed Arava short-takeoff-and-landing transport aircraft.