Goldhofer aircraft tractor goes electric


The electric version of the AST-2 towbarless tow tractor, which was first unveiled back in 2019, has successfully completed the test phase and is now ready for action on the airport apron.

The vehicle – known as the Phoenix – is the flagship product among Goldhofer’s towbarless aircraft tractors. It is a powerful performer, offering speeds up to 32 km/h for maintenance tows. This unit also offers some of the best versatility in its class, handling the full range of today’s aircrafts with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 352 t. It’s no wonder that the Phoenix is one of the best-selling tow tractors on the market. The challenge for the Goldhofer engineers in developing the battery-powered the Phoenix was to produce an electric version to match the existing diesel tractor.

With the Phoenix e-battery-powered aircraft tow tractor, Goldhofer is writing a new chapter in the field of sustainable ground handling. As an alternative to the original diesel-powered tractor, Goldhofer now offers not only an all-electric version with a modular battery concept with a capacity of 66-165kWh but also a hybrid solution with 66kWh battery capacity and a range extender.

The Phoenix E boasts the same range of performance in terms of tractive power, maneuverability and reliability as the diesel version, and offers additional advantages such as lower operating costs and longer maintenance cycles. Like its diesel-powered counterpart, the Phoenix is capable of handling all aircraft with up to 352 tMTOW – with the power delivered by a 220kW direct drive designed for reliable aircraft handling at towing speeds of up to 32 km/h. A triple-circuit braking system ensures excellent tracking performance and maximum travel safety at all times. The virtually maintenance-free pickup, the extremely tight turning circle and the reliability achieved with robust and durable components from premium manufacturers help set the benchmark in this new class of tow tractors.

The vehicle also comes with Goldhofer’s tried-and-tested IonMaster technology. The high-performance electric drive concept works with extremely efficient 700 V lithium-ion batteries, which have proven themselves in the application of electric buses, meeting the highest standards of safety. In addition, the TMS system (Thermo Management System) that is part of the IonMaster concept delivers very short charging times, supporting quick opportunity charging. T

he vehicles can be easily charged at all standard AC and DC charging points with up to 150 kW. Compared to diesel-powered vehicles, the system offers enormous energy savings, very high total vehicle efficiency, and noise emissions approaching zero. As an efficient modular long-life drive concept, »IonMaster« technology is the key to highly cost-effective operation with e-vehicle fleets.


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Saul Wordsworth is deputy editor of the iVT brand - which includes digital and print editions of a quarterly magazine and Off-Highway Annual, as well as He is a keen cyclist and lives in north London.

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