Frankfurt Airport (FRA) operates an extensive electrification strategy. As it is Lufthansa’s home base, the airline complements the airport’s efforts and has turned to Sweden’s Kalmar to order their 700 kW eTug that can tow very large jets emissionfree.
Kalmar’s two-of-a-kind electric vehicle is made to tow the big guns, that is aircrafts such as the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747. Lufthansa’s LEOS, the airlines’ ground handling service, has been using the world’s first eTug at Frankfurt Airport since 2016 and has now put a second one into operation.
The second model has been improved, taking into account feedback from Lufthansa operators. Kalmar’s 700 kW electric vehicle parks large aircraft with a take-off weight of up to 60 tons purely electrically and tows them to the hangar, to the gate or on the runway. In order to do so, the eTug nimbly – considering its weight and size of 9.70 x 4.50 metres – maneuvers with an all-wheel drive and all-wheel steering. The eSchlepper’s lithium-ion batteries have a capacity of 180 kilowatt hours and can be recharged even during operation with a small range extender, a diesel generator.
Both eTug’s made by Swedish company Kalmar Motors AB are part of the E-PORT AN initiative, a joint project by Fraport, Lufthansa, the State of Hesse and the Rhine-Main model electro-mobility region to electrify operations at Germany’s main international airport. The Technical University of Darmstadt and the Technical University of Berlin lend scientific support.
Cargotech specialist Kalmar plans to offer electric versions of all their vehicle models by 2021 reportedly. Kalmar produces industrial vehicles, such as forklifts and tractors for ports, airport terminals and logistics centres, mainly at its base in Sweden in the town of Kalmar that gave the firm its name and is close to the island of Öland in the south of Sweden.