Fleets to Electric
Insights on efﬁciently evolving GSE to the new By Shamballa Kawamoto
and Richard McFarlane,
electric-powered paradigm Curtis Instruments Inc.
lectrification of ground support vehicles and caught short when legislation begins to demand it. The
E equipment is part of a global effort toward
cleaner airport transportation. There has been
even better news is, your shift to electrically powered
GSE will pay for itself within a few years … and can then
much discussion about the benefits. Airports and airlines start producing significant operational savings.
save significantly in operating costs by implementing green
transportation because it is far less expensive in the long GETTING THERE FROM THE GROUND UP
term, according to some industry estimates. Naturally, the If you are looking to board this movement early,
environmental benefit is immense, as fuel consumption is you will need solid support from reliable experts.
reduced and air quality is improved, especially in indoor You might get some guidance from the FAA’s Office of
facilities. With the growing trend toward electric equip- Airports Community and Environmental Needs Division
ment, the focus is now on transitioning fleets. or state and local based nonprofits such as the New York
How do you begin to approach this transformation? Power Authority, for example. It is also beneficial to
How can you justify and sustain the expense? The good cooperate with a supplier that specializes in electric
news is, you can ease into electrification and not get vehicle systems.
Traction Batteries Charger Programmer
The vehicle’s Charges the vehicle’s battery A programming and diagnostics tool
power source. system. to tune and troubleshoot the system.
AC Traction Electric Motor
Converts the electrical power into
Power Steering Controller
The controller uses operators’ input
to direct the electric steering
AC Electric Steering Motor
Provides the vehicle’s power steering.
DC Contactor DC/DC Converter Traction Controller
An electromechanical switch Converts battery voltage The primary electronic controller
that provides the to a lower voltage to run of the vehicle’s powertrain that
power connection auxiliary vehicle systems, converts operator commands
between the battery such as the lights. to smooth operation of the AC
and vehicle systems. traction motor and provides
fault detection capabilities.
FAA: U.S. Aircraft GSE by Owner It is still early in the process
of electrification. There are approxi-
Approx. 72,000 total units - mately 72,000 GSE units currently
average age of 9.4 years in use in the United States, a mere
10 percent of which are electric; but
Airline Owned the opportunities to go electric are
everywhere. From tugs, tractors, bag-
gage handlers, cargo loaders, belt-