Stuttgart Airport is continuing with the electrification of its manoeuvring area with the finalise! project, funded by the German government. The electric fleet will grow by more than thirty heavy-duty vehicles – including a 52-ton refuelling vehicle with electric drive.
To this end, Flughafen Stuttgart GmbH has joined forces with Skytanking and ISEA at RWTH Aachen University to develop an innovative solution for the electrification of a large part of the airport’s handling fleet. The project will cost €5.8 million and will in part be funded by the government (€2.8 million).
The 30 heavy-duty EVs include the first all-electric airfield tanker. As one of the largest service providers in the aviation fuel industry, Skytanking will help develop and operate the vehicle with a capacity of 40,000 litres. According to Stuttgart Airport, the tanker will weigh 52 tons, making it “very challenging,” especially compared to previous projects on a much smaller scale.
To power the new electric vehicles, the project will also include the installation of charging infrastructure at the airport. So each partner will contribute with their expertise – Skytanking with the vehicles, the university with sustainable energy, optimisation of charging protocols and data analysis, and the airport with the infrastructure requirements.
There ar no further details about what the charging infrastructure will (have to) look like. Stuttgart Airport already operates numerous electric vehicles on its apron and has the necessary infrastructure: since 2018, all 16 passenger buses run on electricity, and the first electric cargo tractor to transport baggage on the apron went into operation in 2019.
The finalise! project is scheduled to be completed by 2026, but the first EVs are expected to enter service as early as 2024, reducing local emissions on the apron. Later, other airports and refuelling service providers will also be able to draw on the findings. Stuttgart is to serve here as a “live demonstrator and support the standardisation process.”