Airplanes currently travel from airport gates to runways under their own power. However, this is not very economical, because taxiing can consume up to one metric ton of aviation fuel, depending on an airplane’s size and the distance covered. A much more efficient solution would be to use a diesel-electric towing tractor attached to the nose wheel to pull the plane to the runway. As a result, the plane would not have to turn on its engines during the process.
With this in mind, Siemens, Israel Aerospace Industries, Lufthansa LEOS, and the French TLD Group, which is a market leader for airport handling equipment, have been working on an environmentally friendly taxiing solution since 2011 and have now developed such tractors. Siemens supplies the tractors with their powertrains, which consist of generators, electric motors, converters, electronics, and software.