Lufthansa LEOS has been using the world’s first eTug at Frankfurt Airport since 2016
14 June 2018
Lufthansa LEOS has been using the world’s first eTug at Frankfurt Airport (FRA) in Germany since 2016. The subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik has now put a second one into operation. During its construction, some improvement potentials were taken into account, which the company made on the basis of the operational experience with the first eTug - both with regard to the technical design of the vehicle and the ergonomics for the driver. The 700 kW electric vehicle developed by Kalmar Motor AB in Sweden arrived at Lufthansa LEOS in Frankfurt in spring 2018. After the necessary upgrade work, such as the installation of radio and transponders, it is now in use at FRA. The eTug ensures environmentally friendly maintenance and positioning towing as well as the pushback of large passenger aircraft. It brings aircraft such as the Airbus A380 or the Boeing 747 to their parking positions, to the hangar, or to the gate and can move aircraft up to a maximum take-off weight of 600 t - that’s some 15 times its own weight. By using the eTug, up to 75% of emissions can be saved compared to a conventional, diesel-powered aircraft tractor, and the noise level of the eTug is also significantly lower. The electric vehicle has all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering, so that despite its length of 9.70 m and width of 4.50 m, it is easy to manoeuvre. The e-tug’s lithium-ion batteries have a capacity of 180 kWh which corresponds to about five times the capacity of a commercially available electric car. If necessary, the batteries can also be recharged during operation with the aid of an integrated diesel engine. The eTug is a project within the E-PORT AN initiative at Frankfurt Airport. Its aim is to successively convert individual vehicle types on the apron to electro-mobile drive technologies. In addition to the Lufthansa Group, partners in the initiative include Fraport AG, the State of Hesse, and the Rhine-Main electro-mobility model region. Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is supporting the partners’ investments of several million euros in these forward-looking electro-mobility projects. The initiative is scientifically supported by the Technical University of Darmstadt and the Technical University of Berlin.