Hybrid motor silences jets: the TaxiBot

Aircraft move around on the ground more than one would think. They often taxi many kilometres to their start or parking positions. They are moved with the help of their jet engines or towed by powerful aircraft tugs of up to 1360 HP with correspondingly large diesel engines.  Both release considerable amounts of CO2. 

That is why Lufthansa LEOS, a subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik AG, worked with manufacturer Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to develop a hybrid-powered tug, the TaxiBot, which can tow the Boeing 737 aircraft deployed here, using the power of its electric motors to move aircraft to the runway.

Pilots can use “Pilot Control Mode” to taxi their planes to the starting point in line with the regulations without having to use their own jet engines.At the destination the TaxiBot is disconnected and its driver can drive it in “Driver Control Mode” to the next location.

This reduces kerosene consumption and CO2 emissions. And another bonus: the exceptionally agile TaxiBot also makes working on the apron much quieter.

Technical data 

  • Net weight: 27 t
  • Tractive power: 8 t
  • 8 water-cooled electric motors (integrated into the wheels)
  • 2 generators (260 kW), 2 Scania DC9 diesel (2 x 294 kW / 2 x 394 PS)
  • Driving speed (max. load): 42 km/h
  • Brakes, electric: 8 electric motors are operated as generators
  • Brakes, hydraulic: 8 disc brakes (as an additional brake)

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