Skytanking to Deploy Electric Refuelling Truck at Stuttgart Airport

Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks and Esterer have delivered an electric aircraft refuelling vehicle to Skytanking at Stuttgart Airport (STR).

The Mercedes-Benz eEconic is the first refuelling vehicle to be based on an electric series truck from Daimler Truck.

It has been developed in cooperation with the tank body specialist, Esterer and is equipped with a 40,000-litre fuel tank that uses electrical energy directly from the vehicle batteries.

Stuttgart Airport electric Refuelling vehicle
Thanks to its all-electric drive, the vehicle reduces noise and heat generation and does not emit CO2 or particulate matter

With this procurement, Skytanking is advancing the electrification of ground handling vehicles at Stuttgart Airport. The company will initially use the electric truck as a test vehicle.

Typically, the truck can fully refuel a standard charter aircraft in under 20 minutes thanks to a flow volume of 1,500 liters per minute. However, full refuelling is rarely required, as aircraft tanks are typically neither completely empty or completely full.

Mr. Müller, who has worked at Skytanking for 12 years, refueling the e-tanker.
Mr. Müller, who has worked at Skytanking for 12 years, refueling the e-tanker
Oscar Sanabria, Regional Manager CNE Operations & IT, Skytanking said:

“Our tests with the new refuelling vehicle went smoothly. Its handling during battery charging, kerosene filling, and aircraft refueling is simple and safe. With the installed battery capacity we expect to use the eEconic for aircraft refueling for at least one day without intermittent charging. The objective of the project is to collect data that can support this and serve as a starting point for future planning in the industry.”

The all-electric Mercedes-Benz eEconic is a low-floor truck with a total height of less than 2.8 metres. It can therefore can easily pass underneath the wings of an aircraft.

It also has a low panoramic window and low seat position to give the driver a wide viewing angle of the apron. Meanwhile, the heated Thermocontrol windshield promotes visibility even in poor weather.

The crew can stay directly under the aircraft tank, which is located within the wing body, when refueling
The crew can stay directly under the aircraft tank, which is located within the wing body, when refueling

The truck is equipped with intelligent safety assistance systems such as the fifth-generation Active Brake Assist emergency braking assistant. It also has a side collision protection sensor at the level of the battery packs.

In addition, Daimler Truck and Esterer have implemented a shared user interface to present relevant information to the driver. This includes details on the charge of the batteries, remaining range, tank body fill level, and energy consumption.

The truck's in-cab driver display interface
The truck’s in-cab driver display interface
Franziska Cusumano, Head of Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks said:

“We are delighted that our locally CO2-neutral eEconic is in demand for an increasing number of applications and is now being used with a tank body for the first time. As an all-electric truck, it will help reduce emissions in ground handling operations at Stuttgart Airport. With its experience in control technology, battery technology and high-voltage technology, Esterer is an excellent partner.”

The electric truck is equipped with an electric axle with an integrated drive unit and two electric motors, collectively generating 330 kW of continuous power.

The vehicle’s regenerative braking system enables the recovery of electrical energy during braking to recharge the vehicle’s batteries. This enhances operational efficiency, particularly during stop-and-go driving and refuelling.

The eEconic’s battery packs can be charged at speeds of up to 160 kW. Additionally, as the vehicle’s body pump directly draws power from the batteries, energy supply is provideid through a single charging session. At Stuttgart Airport, an hour of charging time is sufficient for the vehicle and tank body to be used for ground handling operations.

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