Electric tugs for airports: Are we ready for it?
The versatile tractor is ingrained in our minds since our childhood.We have extended its application successfully into the airports, says R Prahalad, VP - Business Development (Aerospace & Defence), Maini Group.
What was the insight behind launching electric tug for airport applications?
The time has come to replace the tractors with the electric tugs, in the airports. With the modernisation of airports where the baggage make up area is at the basement, it has become essential to have electric tugs to avoid pollution. This has become OHSAS compliance requirement. The airport operator’s responsibility
The airport operator has a major role to play in providing the infrastructure required for deploying the electric tugs. For green field and brown field airports these can be ensured at the design stage. But for the ever increasing airport traffic within the existing infra this is a big challenge. This will be in terms of the power availability, adequate charging stations and parking space, ventilation etc. MAINI’s participation in electric platform
We have been the forerunner in design and manufacture of innovative electric platforms, be it the India’s first Reva electric car or the electric passenger buggies & electric Material Handling Equipment (MHE).
The present market offering is of higher tonnage (than required) for the baggage tow applications. The airports restrict not more than four trolleys to be towed at a given time. This is not more than six tonnes.
For the cargo applications, the company has launched the 25 tonnes tug. The evergreen two ton tug of Maini brand supports the airline engineering for transportation of its spares to the aircraft on tarmac for maintenance. Choosing and maintaining your tug
Choosing the right tug is very important. The concessionaire needs to get into the depth of operational requirements, airport infrastructure, terrain, compliance requirements, future plans, etc to choose the right tug. The battery is the heart of the tug. Meticulous daily and scheduled preventive maintenance will provide a long life of the battery. Economics
The acquisition cost of an electric tug is high. However, today, we have moved into life cycle costing rather than acquisition costs. Reliability of the machine, cost of spares, cost of maintenance and down time are few of the parameters considered.
The electric tug is way far economical in comparison to the diesel tugs/tractors when these parameters are considered. With many state governments extending concessions on VAT and on implementation of GST, the acquisition of electric tugs should become relatively affordable in the near future.
With many state governments extending concessions on VAT and on implementation of GST, the acquisition of electric tugs should be affordable in future
R Prahalad VP - Business Development (Aerospace & Defence), Maini Group