Say what you will about the electric Chevrolet Volt, but GM’s engineers created a clever solution to the problem of battery range and recharge time: Give the car its own generator.

When the battery winds down to nothing, a small gasoline engine generates the electricity to keep moving.

The arrangement extends the car’s range and saves gasoline.

Aviation startup Zunum thinks General Motors’ approach might be just the thing to bring electric propulsion to commercial aircraft.

The company, based in Kirkland, Washington, is developing the flying equivalent of a Chevy Volt that uses a pair of ducted fans for propulsion.

As crazy as it sounds, the aviation industry finds itself fascinated by electric airplanes, which require less fuel and make less noise than conventional aircraft.

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